De­liv­er­ing ba­bies in Zam­bia makes book

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By MERANIA KARAURIA

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.

PHOTO / MERANIA KARAURIA

Au­thor and mid­wife Julie Wat­son.

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