e-NEWS: CFK on the ground on Kiriwina
Our team of four CFK dimdims (white persons!) have safely returned from another challenging but successful trip to Kiriwina. While the main focus of the visit was to provide training support for the Village Birth Attendants (VBAs), we also gained first hand feedback on the results of some of our other aid programs. Such feedback is vital for CFK to ensure outcomes are being achieved, and learn how these programs can be improved to ensure ongoing CFK work continues to be as effective as possible.
We visited communities which are now benefiting from recently constructed water wells, and were shown some caves to better understand the risks and dangers that some villagers face just to access clean water – our on-going well program will make accessing water safer and more reliable, not to mention easier. We talked to groups who have benefitted from the Dignity Kits, and had constructive discussions with our on-island partners including the Losuia Health Clinic, to ensure our VBA support coordinates with the objectives of the local Health Clinic and PNG Health objectives generally.
Our CFK programs have been expanded this year as a direct consequence of funding provided through the Australian DFAT Friendship Grant, for which the Kiriwinan people acknowledge and say thank you Australia! CFK also acknowledges our on-going support base of volunteers including the students at St Vincent’s College, Sydney, UNSW Faculty of Health and Yarralumla Uniting Church. We are grateful also to our on-island supporters for the success of this recent trip, in particular the Oyabia United Church for providing logistical support and the use of the church hall to conduct our training support for the 200+ attendees. Kamatokisi kwaiveka, as they say.
During our recent VBA support training – CFK Midwife trainers Shea Caplice and Jacqui Andrews taking two VBA’s through a complicated birth exercise demonstrating what to do when a women bleeds excessively and the baby comes out not breathing.
This cross cultural saying was expressed to us wherever we went on Kiriwina to express appreciation of the effectiveness of our team, clearly CFK is lucky to have the right people in the right positions with the right support.
All of our current programs on Kiriwina are benefitting from the efforts of our wonderful teams in Australia and our partners on the ground on Kiriwina. Our initiatives are being enthusiastically embraced and actioned, and with the additional support provided by the Friendship Grant we have managed to further expand on our achievements.
Our partners on Kiriwina include the Losuia Health Clinic, Kiriwina High School and Elementary School, the Uniting Church and our enthusiastic Kiriwinan plumber, Mr Koega, whose intricate knowledge of water pumps is truly inspiring.
Help save the lives of the women and children on Kiriwina
Following on from our theme for this newsletter, the right people in the right roles, we are extremely grateful to our two exceptional midwife educators Shea Caplice and Jacqui Andrews for volunteering their services yet again for their third trip to Kiriwina in three years.
This recent visit in September 2019 to provide educational support for the VBAs on Kiriwina provided an initial session over several days of more intense and focussed teaching with a small group of 24 VBAs on primary health care. This was followed by a larger group of around 200 VBA participants in the second half of the week. Issues covered included family planning and assisting with normal births, what to do when a baby is not breathing or when the mother bleeds excessively after birth. The support sessions also provided an opportunity for the VBAs to practice skills that they learned and be assessed on those skills in a supportive environment. Specific objectives included:
- VBAs will be able to demonstrate the correct clean and safe way to assist at the birth of a baby using the birth kit.
- VBA will demonstrate the correct way to rub the fundus and apply external bimanual compression to stop bleeding after delivery.
- VBA will demonstrate essential newborn care and simple resuscitation puffing air into the lungs via the nose/mouth.
- VBAs will show how they will provide some education younger VBAs including why family planning is important, healthy eating during pregnancy, danger signs, visiting the Health Centre for check-ups and planning for birth.
We also discussed hygiene of self, home, family and village, showed videos on the spread of disease, and outlined the seven cleans needed for assisting at birth. Our educational support sessions get better each time and the most positive thing is the VBAs coming together and wanting to learn.
Thanks to Midwife educator extrodinaire Shea Caplice.
While on Kiriwina we inspected the recently installed water pumps in the Kiriwina High School grounds and the village of Kuluwa, which were ceremoniously opened with much fanfare. Sadly, due to poor weather and logistics we were unable to visit our two other recent water pump installations in the more remote villages of Kenobasi and Wakesa.
Our wonderful plumber Mr Koega accompanied us on our inspections and explained how many unfinished NGO pump sites there are around the Island which are in need of completion, maintenance or parts.
As we identify the villages in the most need of potable water, it is evident there are still more pumps to be installed and more pumps to be completed or repaired.
Mr Koega, our water pump man!
Our newly installed and decorated water pump.
As soon as we landed on Kiriwina, we were driven to the Kiriwina High School assembly which was called in honour of Caring for Kiriwina, where the students and teachers expressed their appreciation of the water pumps and the Dignity Kits. The students claim that the Dignity Kits are truly liberating their lives. We also heard first hand that the reusable menstrual pads and underpants which we now include in the Birthing Kits were also having an extremely positive impact on the lives of these women and girls.
Kiriwina High School student assembly to thank CFK for the water pumps and Dignity Kits.
All this life saving work could not have been achieved without the help of the DFAT Friendship Grant and our Volunteers, Sponsors and Donors.
Caring for Kiriwina is supported by the Australian Government.
Thanks again to all our donors for your ongoing support!
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