Thank you again UNSW’s Dr Sophia Lin and Associate Professor Holly Seale other helpers from the School of Population Health Faculty of Medicine & Health for such as successful 2022 Gateway packing event.
Here are excerpts from the letter we sent to our newly appointed Foreign Minister over the weekend. Let’s get this quality aid intervention reinstated as a priority!!!
In 2018 CFK received an Australian Government Friendship Grant which funded our delivery of several midwifery education sessions on Kiriwina for the local VBAs. This was undertaken by two wonderful midwife educators from the Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick NSW (for details see this link: https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/nsw_-_caring_for_kiriwina.png.) Our experience and feedback from these short and intensive sessions highlighted the importance of ongoing training and education for the VBA volunteers whose work in the community is literally lifesaving.
Unfortunately, COVID put a hold on the Friendship Grants and therefore the continuing of these in-country training activities over the last few years. While CFK continues its core commitment to the Kiriwina people, we are extremely aware of the critical need of trained and educated personnel overseeing midwifery and birthing support both at the local Health Clinic and in the community.
We ask if DFAT is proposing to reinstate the Friendship Grants scheme. It was an excellent mechanism for providing important aid to our closest neighbour, amongst others. Small and focused charities such as ours are well placed to provide quality overseas aid at a grass roots level to vulnerable communities, and the reinstatement of such a scheme would greatly improve the health and well being of some of our poorest neighbours, not to mention be a great thing for our countries as well.
Some of our incredible VBA leaders need to be recognised for their tireless and selfless work. Recently widowed head VBA, Dulcie Toposoma has been an incredibly wonderful friend to the Lawton family over the 65 years we have been working side by side with the Kiriwinan community. Here pictured with a slightly miserable baby of the week. We really miss Nelson and love you Dulcie!!!
We are forever grateful to you Dulcie, Thank you!!!
Featured photo: Losuia Health Centre nurse Linnesse (centre) photographed with our brilliant midwife educators, Jacqui Andrews (left) Shea Caplice (right). CFK and the Kiriwinan’s will be forever grateful for their servant hearted generosity of spirit. This photo was taken during our 2019 training trip.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank one of the trained midwives at Losuia HC, Bokawau who has now retired (left, next to Linnesse). During her time at the Losuia HC, Bokawau was a trusted leader with the VBAs and the community, providing valuable knowledge and experience to the VBAs, as well as encouraging mothers to give birth at the Losuia HC instead of their villages. Her retirement is a loss to the community in the area of womens’ and babies’ health that is constantly in need of support.
Above: Losuia Health Centre nurses Raymond and Linnesse. Happy International Nurses Day. Thank you for all the work you do.
We are feeling extremely happy that the systems that we have in place that deal with the difficult logistics involved in delivering these important items to the Village Birth attendants and Losuia Health Centre on Kiriwina Island are working :).
The people of Kiriwina are really grateful, thankful and appreciate CFK for the services provided to them. Kirwina people also convey their inner most feelings of gratitude and appreciation to the donors all over the world. Thank you very much.
Due to the increase in pregnancies more birth registration booklets have been requested.
Why birth and death registration really are “vital” statistics for development.
In developed societies we take it for granted that all children are registered at birth and that all people are registered when they die with a medically assigned cause of death. We hardly think about birth and death registration because we rarely are the initiators; it is usually the institution where the birth takes place that registers the baby, and the undertaker who registers a death. Our involvement is typically limited to choosing a name for the child and signing the registration papers.
In most developing countries including PNG, however, there is no reliable system as many births do not happen through the official Health Care Centers but happen in the villages, away from any official recording mechanisms. This in part explains why so many births and deaths go unrecorded.
Due to our the growth of our successful CFK Village Birth Attendants network we can help fill this gap by supplying Birth Registration Booklets which are vital for planning. Without knowing the size and composition of the local population, how can local authorities and charity groups decide how much – and what type of essential services to provide?
Only about 65% of all births are registered globally and only about one third of the world’s 55 million annual deaths are recorded through civil registration1, and up to 80 percent of deaths that occur outside of health facilities are not counted. UNDP (2015).
The people of Kiriwina are really grateful and thankful and appreciates CFK for the services provided to them. Kirwina people also convey their inner most feelings of gratitude and appreciation to the donors all over the world. Thank you very much.
Thank you so much to our wonderful volunteer packers, Maria Black, Tracey Small, Finola Border, Lucy Spencer and Bev Buckley, (the book club 🙂 with Andrew Sweeney providing cups of tea and Vanessa Palfreeman at the helm, who all gave up their Saturday afternoon to pack birthing kits for the women of Kiriwina.
Thanks also goes to the donors, who made it possible to purchase all our high quality contents to assemble the kits xxx.
VBAs from all over the Island came to report to our in-country manager during his reporting visit in April, receiving delivery of birthing kits, lanterns, torches, PPE, baby clothing, batteries and soap.
Due to lack of delivery of basic health services to Kiriwina by the PNG National and Milne Bay Provincial Governments, the health services on Kiriwina have badly deteriorated.
The Village Birth Attendants (VBAs) are in desperate need of many items and equipment to help them in assisting with deliveries of pregnant women in isolated communities. The VBAs receive no form of support from the Government, their only support is through donations from CFK.
There are currently 275 VBAs on Kiriwina. Due to the increase in the rate of births due in April, May and June 2021, the VBAs have requested more birthing kits, birth record books, soap, face masks, hand sanitizers, hand gloves, torches, batteries, baby scales and other items to support their pregnant women deliver in their respective circuits.
We regularly send packages to the VBAs, and with your financial help this can continue. Please consider a regular donation, as this allows us to plan for the future and manage resources.
The Losuia Health Centre is currently in crisis with a lack of basic medicines, drugs and family control methods.
Losuia Health Centre nurses Linnesse and Raymond recently received delivery of hundreds of PPE, face masks, hand sanitizers, birthing kits and baby knitting clothes as well as COVID 19 Awareness Posters from CFK. Sister Linnese reported that the number of pregnancies for the first quarter (Jan – Mar) of 2021, doubled as compared with the last quarter of (Oct-Dec) of 2020. One reason for the increase is that the Losuia Health Centre has run out of family planning methods such as contraceptives and condoms.
Losuia Health Centre nurses Raymond and Linnesse receiving CFK donations.
Our In-country manager noted many pregnant mothers returning from the clinic at Losuia Health Centre.
Pregnant mothers waiting for their names to be called at the clinic at Losuia Health Centre.
Kiriwina Secondary School
The students are in a 4 week isolation lock down as directed by the PNG Government to control the spread of COVID 19, resulting in the closure of all Primary and Secondary Schools in PNG. The female re-usable menstrual pads and pens will be delivered in mid-May once the schools are reopened.
What a great Humanitarian
With CFK’s support Janson Toposona runs a small dispensary clinic in Kavataria Village. He is a Medical Officer by profession and former lecturer with Divine Word University based in Madang. He retired from his formal employment, returned home and volunteered to run the small dispensary clinic. The clinic is very helpful to the community. Janson provides free medical services and treats minor cases and with major cases referred to Losuia Health Centre for further treatment.
Jason in his hut which acts as a small medical clinic.
The Communities where the water pumps were installed reported that their pumps are in good condition and we have had further requests for water pumps to be installed in other respective communities and villages.
Food security program
The harvest season is getting nearer. The CFK sponsored gardens have been inspected and yams and other food crops are ready to be harvested in May, June and July this year. The long yams were ready and being harvested and they are being hung in the yam houses for long term storage. There are a total of 103 long yams, ranging from 0.8m to 1.5m! The other type of yams will be harvested in May when the food security yam harvest program is officially opened.
7.3.1928 – 21.4.2021
Rev. Dr. Ralph Lawton was regarded as a Kiriwinan (Trobriand Islander). He called Kiriwina “home” and spoke the Kiriwinan language fluently. He lived the life of the people of Kiriwina, ate the food, drank the water, felt the pains, struggles and the hardships daily. Ralph respected the cultural norms of Kiriwina.
In keeping with the Kiriwinan’s sense of humor Ralph was known as a chief and given the Kiriwinan name “Iyupalilaguyau Lotoni” which means “He who thinks he is Chief Lawton‘.
In Ralph’s honour the Oyabia Mission Station will now been renamed “Oyabia Iyupalilaguyau Lotoni”. Dual country memorial services were held simultaneously on Tuesday 27th April at 11am, with a huge socially distanced crowd of Kiriwinan’s in attendance coming from all over the Island. Tributes were given by representatives of the Kiriwina Bible Translation Committee, VBA’s, Catholic Church and United Church. During that ceremony the New Church Building at Mulosaida Village was also dedicated in honour of Ralph and officially named the “Rev. Dr. Ralph Lawton Memorial Church”. The church will be officially opened and dedicated in July 2021. Thank you Kiriwina.