Delivering babies in Zambia makes book
Julie Watson was checking her emails when “midwife wanted” caught her eye.
The email, forwarded by a friend, had come from a New Zealand missionary doctor John Woodfield who worked at the Kalene Mission Hospital in Zambia.
Julie said the hospital was desperately in need of help and the position was for a few months until a permanent replacement was found.
She gave husband Barry time to think about the proposition, who told Julie he needed to be actively involved as well.
When Barry had agreed to go with Julie, she applied to volunteer, and the couple set plans in place.
“We had to have inoculations as malaria was a real risk.”
Pregnant mothers at the mission hospital were also treated for malaria.
The Lunda people are served by the hospital at which there are 900 births a year.
“The aim is that the Zambian people will look after their own,” Julie said.
There were already a lot of local women who worked at the hospital and who delivered the babies.
Julie says the lifestyle in Kalene is simple and idyllic.
“There is no violence, no television and no power to the homes.
“No-one smokes and there is no alcohol.”
The nappies for the newborn babies are ripped cloths, which prompts Julie's response that here in the west we take so much for granted.
“They even work hard when they are pregnant.”
She said that although their lifestyle is untouched, the Lunda people still had challenges from malnutrition.
Helping women has always been Julie's dream since she was a 16 year old working as a nurseaide in Pahiatua. It was not until Julie was 37 that she studied midwifery.
Julie has documented their five months in Zambia in her book Born for Life which will be launched on October 13, 4pm in Te Papaioea Birthing Centre on Ruahine St.
Author and midwife Julie Watson.