A trip to Angugunak
Written by Debbie Butters (Midwife)
Another productive PNG trip with Living Child Inc. It is amazing watching and participating in the progress of this young N.G.O. Just as a living child should, it grows in strength and confidence. This was our first expedition without Sara at the helm and it was encouraging having women, health workers, health authorities and the leaders of the community all responded to our visit and training with such enthusiasm and appreciation.
Training such eager students is a privilege. My favourite photo shows Carol, a housewife and mother from the tiny village of Brugap just soaking up the training with such tangible enthusiasm. The women thrived on the opportunity to learn new skills and this empowered them with knowledge that could save lives. As trainers we desired to try and prove this in some measurable way.
Mary, Rhondy and I sat up late at night after busy long days, writing evaluation forms and correlating the results sometimes with only the light of torches. Aiming to provide a written report and assessment of the training and the new course that Sara had developed, and yet the best proof may have come from Carol.
Running towards me a few days after completing the Safe Motherhood Course, Carol announced with great excitement that she had brought the patient that we had just seen arriving on the back of a ute. Carol shared that she had met the sick woman in her village and realised she needed care at the health centre. She organised and escorted the woman to Angugunak where a diagnosis of severe kidney infection was established and promptly intravenous fluids and antibiotics were commenced. We praised Carol for her correct and efficient decision making, empowered from the new knowledge and confidence that the course had provided.
Carol also informed us that other women from the training were feeling bold enough to make announcements on the public transport about the new family planning option Implants that we had made available at Anguganak. Three health workers had been trained by Rhondy and I in how to insert the tiny hormone rods into women’s upper arms providing the option of 5 years birth control. Ultimately this will save mothers lives as childbirth becomes more dangerous when a woman has more than 4 children. In less than a month 280 implants have been inserted and I am told more women are coming every day. When my trainees have in such a short time far exceeded my number of implant insertions, I again feel validated that our visit to Anguganak was a great success.