Vol­un­teer­ing in Van­u­atu

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

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.

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