Can you imagine giving birth on a beach, using a shell to cut your newborn’s umbilical cord? Or how about birthing in the scrub, laying on dirt and using an old rusty razor instead of a scalpel to cut the cord.
Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, not!! This is the experience of many women living in remote and isolated areas of Papua New Guinea – Australia’s closest neighbour.
Maternal health, access to midwives and hospitals is a luxury afforded mostly to women living in major centres, even then we, as Australian, would be horrified with the conditions.
Sadly, 5 women die in childbirth every day in PNG and 1 in 13 children die before the age of 5, many from preventable and treatable diseases.
My work with RRRC Connect, the philanthropic arm of the Reef & Rainforest Research Centre is focussed on changing these horrific statistics in an isolated area of PNG that can only be accessed by boat. Our partner, Birthing Kits Foundation Australia, have supplied 600 birthing kits as a pilot run for Treaty Village women.
Female Community Rangers distribute the birthing kits, and while doing so they record who receives a kit, train women how to use the contents, including the importance of providing a clean birthing environment.
Women are taught to clean baby’s eyes as soon as he/she is born and to clean mum, using the soap and washer supplied – these two simple acts, plus using the scalpel will significantly reduce the possibility of infection.
This is a Band-Aid, what these women need are Women’s Centres where they can be monitored and supported by trained mid-wives and give birth in a safe and clean environment.
If you have a product or service that would improve the lives of women in PNG, and believe in partnerships, please get in touch
I would love to hear from you.
© Yolonde Entsch 2020