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Australian midwives embark on PNG Buddy Program

Photo: Australian midwives embark on PNG Buddy Program
The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) has partnered with the Rotary Club of Morialta (South Australia), the Rotary Club of Port Moresby and the PNG Midwifery Society, to facilitate a PNG Buddy Program in Port Moresby for a cohort of Australian midwives this year.

The PNG Buddy Program is set to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes in PNG by strengthening midwifery leadership and training so that all women have access to safe maternity care.

In March the first cohort of ACM Buddy Midwives will travel to PNG to meet their counterparts, be immersed in local culture and gain an understanding of current midwifery practice in PNG.

Facilitator Helen Hall will lead the first cohort of six ACM Buddies, Lesley Brown, Bridget Ferguson, Jane Menke, Vanessa Page, Monica Scott and Michelle Mitchell, to provide support to their PNG Buddy Midwife and experience mutual learning.
Buddies will participate in a four-day leadership and training program in PNG where they will explore a variety of leadership topics including global maternal health, governance, teamwork, advocacy, communication, data sources and more.

There will also be a clinical immersion day where participants and their PNG Buddy will spend time in maternity hospitals in PNG. They will also plan how they will implement an ongoing peer support relationship.

PNG midwives play an essential role in optimal infant and maternal outcomes for their country, and the Buddy Program will address challenges by cultivating meaningful peer relationships, explained Ms Hall.

“There will also be challenges for the Australian Buddies, including negotiating cultural differences, maintaining communication when they return home and managing expectations.

“I’m confident they will also have many triumphs in progressing understanding and access to quality midwifery care in PNG and Australia.

“We’re hoping to achieve increased leadership capacity for all participants, which will benefit the midwifery profession and childbearing women in both PNG and Australia.

“I'm delighted to be involved, and I look forward to meeting all participants and sharing our collective wisdom, imagination and passion for progressing quality maternal and infant care in PNG,” said Ms Hall.

ACM Buddy Monica Scott feels a special connection with PNG, as she grew up in the country, and has a strong sense of responsibility toward its people.

“Despite PNG being our closest neighbour, the rates of maternal and neonatal morbidity are very high.

“It is a responsibility of midwives in Australia to share knowledge with our neighbours and help improve these rates.

“I feel connected to PNG, so this is where I feel I can offer support.

“I am looking forward to learning more about the culture women experience in PNG, which impacts on their health, with regards to birthing and mothering.

“It’s also important to look outward from my own experience and to learn more about others, so I can experience different ways of caring for women and babies,” said Ms Scott.

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Haley Williams

Haley Williams has a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and over a decade of experience in the media, marketing and communications industries.

She is a widely published journalist with a particular interest in writing magazine features on parenting, health, fitness, nutrition and education.

Before becoming a freelance journalist, Haley worked as a writer for NeoLife (a worldwide nutrition company), News Limited and APN News & Media.

Haley also has extensive experience as an SEO Content Writer and Digital Marketing Strategist.