Volunteering in Vanuatu
When a newborn takes its first breath Lynette Atkins is reminded why she became a midwife.
Helping women and giving families the gift of a healthy baby is what the 25 year-old at Pohlen Hospital has a heart for and it was those passions that led her to sign up as a volunteer at Port Vila Hospital in Vanuatu.
On October 16, Miss Atkins is heading there for three weeks to help in the maternity wards which will be vastly different to what she is used to. ‘‘At Pohlen we have about five babies a week but at Port Vila they have between 15 and 20 births a day and only four midwives and one obstetrician on duty at a time,’’ she said.
With limited staff and resources and a high infancy and mother fatality rate because of it, they welcome volunteer staff.
Working at Port Vila has been on Miss Atkins’ to-do list since she studied midwifery at Wintec two years ago, so when the opportunity recently arose she embraced it.
She is going through a Vanuatu volunteer organisation that is run by midwives in New Zealand.
‘‘The thing that drew me to this was that it will take me back to the basics of midwifery. They don’t have a lot there,’’ she said.
Miss Atkins has to pay her own way but she said the unforgettable experience would be worth every cent. ‘‘I think it will help me grow as a midwife and it will be a big eye opener and set me up for all kinds of experiences,’’ she said.
‘‘It will be nothing like New Zealand. The number of babies born, the level of care they receive will all be different. They don’t have access to much running water or hospital aids like we do. It is very primitive,’’ she said.
Delivering new life: Midwife Lynette Atkins is going to Vanuatu to volunteer at Port Vila hospital.