Emilie has just given birth to her fourth baby at the Angau Memorial Hospital in Papua New Guinea. She is feeling very happy and relieved about her baby’s good health, after a difficult few hours of labour. There are no maternity services in her village, so she had to travel for several hours while she was in labour to get to the hospital.
Limited access to reproductive healthcare has affected Emilie’s life in the past.
Papua New Guinean women in rural areas can experience extreme poverty, surviving on less than AU$1.15 a day. Even before the arrival of this new baby, looking after a family of five has been a challenge for Emilie. The lack of access to proper nutrition, clean drinking water and adequate health services has made it difficult for her and her husband to provide for their children. Emilie has no formal education and had not heard of modern contraceptive methods prior to coming to the hospital.
“I want to be a better mum to my four kids,” said Emilie. She would like to send them to school to get an education. “I want them to have a good life.”
A second chance
Gaudi is an MSI nurse who provides free services for women in the post-natal ward at the hospital. She counsels the mothers on the benefits of spacing their births and provides them with contraceptive services while they are in the post-natal ward. This means they can leave the hospital with their new baby, safe in the knowledge that they are protected from an unplanned pregnancy.
Emilie chose to get an implant in her arm, which will give her at least five years of long-acting contraception.
“I want to allow my body to heal between pregnancies, having this implant means I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant again and can have time to raise my kids better.”
This year, Gaudi has provided implants to nearly 2000 women in the hospital. She is just one of the MSI nurses providing women with access to contraception, allowing them to better space their pregnancies, look after their families and have control over their futures. Our post-natal ward nurses are supported by the Australian Government’s RESPOND program.
Next year, we want to train more nurses like Gaudi, to reach more people like Emilie.