Deliveries by torch light were a norm at Karati Health centre until a few weeks ago. The newly installed solar light came on just in time for the birth of a beautiful baby boy.
It had been midwife Leanne’s dream to be part of a birth in Papua New Guinea and during her second time back on board the MV YWAM PNG, her hope was fulfilled.
“I first noticed her during the welcome,” said midwife Leanne talking about a pregnant mother. “She was hiding behind a tree during the village welcome. When she came over to the clinic, I could tell straight away that she was well into labour,” she smiled.
“At first, I was expecting her to give birth anywhere between 5 minutes to 2 hours.” said Leanne. “However when 2 hours passed, the mother had not progressed at all.”
Leanne worked alongside two of YWAM Medical Ships doctors as well as the Karati Health Centre community health workers to improve contractions and keep the mother comfortable.
In the meantime, a group of YWAM Medical Ships engineers had began installing a new solar kit in Karati Health Centre. The solar kit had been donated by a previous volunteer midwife who had also worked alongside the Karati health workers last year. Looking for a way to help once she left, she decided to invest into a solar kit for the health centre’s delivery room.
Another hour went by and nothing had changed for the mother. If there wasn’t progression soon, the mother would need a caesarean section which would need to be done at the nearest hospital, a two and a half hour dinghy ride away.
As the engineers worked away at the solar kit, Leanne and the Karati healthcare workers prayed. A long dinghy ride in the mother’s condition was a concerning thought, there was an impeding realisation of their limited resources.
But then, it all started changing! Everything started happening all at once, the labour progressed and the YWAM-Karati Health Centre team positioned themselves to receive the new born. Just as the baby began to make his debut, the solar light switched on; illuminating the room just in time for a beautiful, healthy, baby boy to make his entrance. Deliveries by torch light were now something of the past at Karati Health Centre!
Leanne brought the other YWAM Medical Ships midwife, Sue, back with her to the health centre later that week. They were delighted to see the health workers once more after their special delivery together and were also able to welcome thirty local mothers and healthcare workers to a special training day. Leanne and Sue ran sessions on childbirth, family planning, breastfeeding and how to recognise a sick child. They also trained the health workers in how to use a foetal doppler to monitor the baby’s heartbeat, a piece of equipment that is included in the solar kit.
In a nation where five women die in childbirth every day, hope is rising among the women of Karati as solar light and training empowers them to usher in the miracle of life.