PQMD in the Field: Midwifery Training in Papua New Guinea with Partners Heart to Heart, International and BD
Thanks to the generosity of PQMD partners, and members, Heart to Heart, International (HHI) and BD, PQMD office manager Gretchen Warwick recently spent two weeks working alongside nurses and midwives in Lemakot, Papua New Guinea (PNG).
During her time in the field, Warwick worked alongside volunteers from HHI and Australian Doctors International (ADI) bringing midwifery training to approximately 46 healthcare workers. Having been well-established in PNG for some time, ADI has also worked closely with HHI for several years, making them the perfect partner to help marry local context, strategic guidance, and achievable and sustainable impact within the province.
Having been well-established in PNG for some time, ADI has also worked closely with BD for several years to address health needs in PNG. BD introduced HHI to ADI and supported HHI involvement in providing laboratory quality improvement training, and infection control training. ADI and the provincial health department also recognized that midwife training was essential to reducing the extremely high maternal child mortality rates making them the perfect partner to help marry local context, strategic guidance, and achievable and sustainable impact within the province. BD does not have midwife technical expertise so they generously agreed to provide support through HHI to develop and deliver the training.
As a result of the successful training, HHI looks forward to rolling out the training to other locations in the coming years.
“HHI is using this pilot training and the content our expert volunteers generated for this training to develop a semi-standardized midwifery training curriculum for low-resource settings,” said HHI program manager Julie Wahl, who also traveled with the group. “Maternal and child health is a growing focus for the global health community, and HHI plans to continue to grow its role as a key player in combating what are far too often avoidable maternal and child deaths in poor-resource settings.”
Warwick, who has been with the organization since 2015, has not previously had the chance to work on an international development project.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to have traveled to Papua New Guinea, and to have done so through our partners Heart to Heart, International, and BD,” said Warwick. “It’s one thing to read about, and even see pictures, of the areas our members work, but to be on the ground and see the challenges these communities face and their strong desire to learn and make an impact for future generations…it’s truly a gift, and lesson I will carry with me throughout my life.”
Warwick also noted how many personal stories and experiences shared by participants made the impact of the training that much more acute. From the trainee who lost his own mother in childbirth 12 years ago, to the woman from an area of PNG inaccessible due to water five months of the year making her training particularly critical for her community, all involved echoed their gratitude for experience.
“I strive for all staff members to spend at least a week in the field during their time with PQMD,” said Executive Director Elizabeth “EJ” Ashbourne. “It’s important for the team to understand, at a fundamental level, both the work that our members and their teams do on daily basis, as well as really connect with the areas in which they operate.”