some words from Sara David
Living Child CEO
Update from CEO, Sara David
This is a very difficult story to share, but I believe it needs to be told so that you know the incredible hardships pregnant women in PNG face. **warning some people may find this post very distressing**
Recently Sr Linda Tano told me about a young woman who had finally made it to Angoram Hospital to get help after she'd been in labour for a week (yes, you read that right, a WEEK). She was from a remote Island community and due to rough seas they could not get to the place they needed to for assistance. They ended up at the mouth of the Sepik River where someone told them that there was a midwife at Angoram, further upstream. Eventually they made it to Angoram at 1am in the morning. Sr Tano attended to the poor girl who was semi conscious with a deceased, decomposing baby, half in, half out. She was in obstructed labour. Sr Tano managed to deliver the baby and then prepared the mother for transfer to Wewak Hospital where she received excellent care under Dr Angela Seginami, the Obstetrician. The young woman has survived, but as you can imagine she has suffered terrible internal injuries and of course, she lost her baby.
This is why Living Child does what we are doing. Training Village Birth Attendants, upskilling Community Health Workers and Midwives, supporting health professionals to be able to provide quality health care to women in remote areas.
The photo below is of the very brave VBA who Sr Tano says took initiative to transfer the woman and kept persevering to get her to a hospital. Many times along the way people refused to help her with transport, but this VBA kept on speaking up for the pregnant to get help. She saved her life.
Currently in PNG there is a Polio outbreak. We have been told that it is worst in Angoram District. Sr Tano is now also helping to coordinate the polio vaccination program.
Happy New Year everyone!
At Living Child the year has started with a bang. Right at the end of 2018 we found out that our Grant applications with the Australian Government and with Send Hope Not Flowers were successful. So together with the amazing support from the Rotary Club of Melville the year has begun with us working very hard to prepare for all the Outreach trips for 2019.
We are hoping the year will look something like this:
1. 1-16 March: 16 days Outreach trip to Bunam, Yamen and Angoram to conduct follow-up training with Village Birth Attendants, facilitate focus groups with men about family health, introduce the use of chlorhexidine gel antiseptic to be used on the umbilical cord stump of newborns to prevent infection, conduct focus groups with the women to gather information about their breastfeeding and nutrition needs and launch the Care Group program – working with volunteer women to get important health messages to every household in every village. This will be the first team travelling to PNG without Sara David as leader. PNG nurse, Sr Julie Baleu, who now lives in Perth, will be leading the teams.
2. At the end of June a smaller team will revisit the remote villages to follow up on how the Care Group program is going and to gather some information to help us evaluate the projects.
3. July 15 – August 16th two (2) Australian volunteer midwives will be based in Wewak to conduct 2 training courses to help with the professional development of those providing maternity care in remote areas of the East Sepik Province.
4. August - a team will conduct a Men’s health training program that will have been put together with information gathered from the Men’s focus groups held in March. The training for men will be conducted in the villages and also in the High School. Follow up with the Care Group facilitators will also been done and to check on whether the chlorhexidine gel is being used on newborns and well accepted.
As well as the outreach trips, we continue to provide regular support and encouragement to Sr Linda Tano who is now based at Angoram District Hospital. She has a huge job ahead of her setting up maternity services for the whole District. We’ve been able to purchase a few more items of equipment for her and her staff to be able to provide a quality service. This includes wheelchairs, stainless steel containers, a vacuum extraction machine, an oxygen concentrator and another bassinet.
Due to a grant from the Birthing Kit Foundation of Australia, a regular supply of kits is being sent to Sr Linda and she is distributing them to Village Birth Attendants as well as providing some training to them about their use.
A heartfelt thank to all our donors, supporters and volunteers. We can not do this without you. We are trying our best with the resources we have. We’d love you to consider being a regular donor to help us help the families in Angoram District. If you’d like to know more about the work we are doing, please give Sara a call.
0418 282 342
listen | read | watch
ABC Radio Interview on Pacific Morning
Sara David (CEO Living Child inc.) was interviewed by Seini Taumoepeau on ABC Radio Australia's program Pacific Morning on 6 March 2018. ABC Radio Australia has given permission for us to share the interview and you can listen to Sara talking about Living Child on the above link.
Radio interview from Dateline Pacific
Maternal mortality rates in Papua New Guinea appear to have worsened over the past five years with the risk of dying during childbirth now estimated at 1 in 120 women. The head of aid agency ChildFund Australia says maternal health remains an unrecognised crisis in PNG and women are losing their lives every day during childbirth due to unsafe conditions and causes that are preventable. Jenny Meyer reports.