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Happy mums, healthy babies

25 February 2019, Impact of Our Work

The word is spreading through the hills. And more mums are delivering their bubs in the safety of supervised health centres

In the jungly mountains near Wewak, in a northwest pocket of Papua New Guinea, our Birthing Kits project is encouraging new mums to deliver their babies in well-equipped health centres, rather than face the dangers of delivering at home where midwives and facilities are often scarce. 

Helen works as a midwife in the remote Dagua Health Centre. She’s seen a significant increase in the number of mothers coming to the clinic to give birth since the Birthing Kits project began.

“Before the introduction of the Birthing Kit project, we had mothers coming for ante-natal check-ups but less were coming to us for supervised births,” she says.  “But when the birthing kit project was introduced, we had a lot of them coming. The trend of the mothers coming has increased.” 

The birthing kits provide families with essential supplies to help them keep their newborn healthy at home. Midwives and healthcare staff also encourage new mums to return for check-ups and immunisations and give health tips to ensure mother and baby remain healthy and strong. 

In recent decades, many of the traditional ways women took care of themselves have been lost. So mothers giving birth in remote villages face a far greater level of risk.  

“Some mothers in the village, they tell the girls how they think they should do things and many times when the cervix is not ready, some bleed after giving birth. It’s not good,” Helen says. “But here, we work with trained personnel, clean equipment – the environment is clean and sterile. If we do have any complications, there are trained personnel here, so we can handle those complications. It’s safe.” 

Helen, a community health worker for 21 years, is encouraged by an increase
in the number of women having supervised childbirths at her clinic.

The incentive of the birthing kits – containing necessities young mothers often struggle to afford themselves – helps families develop a valuable relationship with their community health worker. The advice and professional care they receive from carers like Helen can be life-saving for both mother and baby.

Helen is passionate about delivering healthy babies, but she’s equally passionate about making sure they stay that way. “Should they have questions about anything, they should come back to us.  We’re here for them. That’s what we do.”

Images: Robert McKechnie/Save the Children

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