Anticipation was in the air as the first day of clinics arrived for the first outreach of 2012. As the volunteers reached the shores of Veraibari village in the Gulf Province and began setting up for the day, midwife, Debbie Butters, learned of a baby that had been born just hours earlier.
Not long after patients began getting treatment at the clinic, the birth attendant of the village led Debbie to the house where the littlest member of the village was fast asleep. With the help of a translator, Debbie concluded that the mother was doing as well as could be expected, and her little boy, Joel, was a healthy newborn. Debbie was able to supply the mum with iron tablets to build up her strength, as well as administer the baby’s first immunisation. She also offered what knowledge she could to the mum and birth attendant before leaving Veraibari after two days.
Little did Debbie know that on the other side of the four-hour sail to Karati, was another newborn baby! Debbie arrived to find baby girl, Fiona, and mum were doing well. In both cases, Debbie was impressed with the way the births went, considering Joel was the seventh and Fiona was the fifth child in their respective families. Debbie was sure to commend the birth attendants in both villages for doing such a wonderful job of delivering these babies.
With her knowledge as a midwife, Debbie knows the high risks involved when a mother gives birth to more than four children. The possibilities of complications, like excessive bleeding, are much higher. In the villages especially, where resources are limited, and treatment is often not available, these factors contribute to the high incidence of mothers in rural PNG who do not make it through childbirth to meet their new child.
With the help of midwives like Debbie, the YWAM Medical Ship hopes to spread crucial knowledge, as well as give care and resources as available, to these cherished mums carrying precious new lives.