VBA training Project

Strong Women and Strong Babies!

Improving the quality of maternity care services can save the lives of women and babies, and our on-going project is to provide on-going support after the success of our one week training program in 2017, 2018 and 2019 on Kiriwina in basic and emergency skills in maternal and newborn health. Currently there are approximately 275 Village Health Volunteers (VBA’s)  scattered around the Island of Kiriwina and surrounding even more isolated Islands. We continue to strive to provide support for the basic and emergency health care services for women and their newborns that focused on pregnancy, birth and the immediate postnatal period.

The World Health Organisation advocates for “skilled care at every birth”, and whilst the PNG government rolls out more formal education in midwifery elsewhere, Caring for Kiriwina has embarked on a program to deliver essential pregnancy and birth skills education for the Village Health Volunteers.

Our two fabulous Primary Health Care Australian registered midwife educators have travelled to the island of Kiriwina in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to facilitate an education program at one of the main villages. The program has incorporated guidelines from the World Health Organisation Safe Childbirth initiative.

The two trainers were accompanied by four Australian support staff to assist with monitoring the program and liaison with the local Caring for Kiriwina representatives. The midwife educators and the Caring for Kiriwina support staff provided their services on a volunteer basis.

The logistics and planning for the training program included:

  • Air travel to and from Kiriwina, including a required overnight stay in Port Moresby each way
  • Provision of insurances and relevant vaccinations for the Australian volunteers
  • Accommodation & food for the trainers while implementing the program
  • Provisions and refreshments for some Kiriwinan trainees to enable them to attend
  • Assistance with travel for some trainees not local to the training location, without which they could not attend
  • Supply of educational materials and birthing kits
  • Coordination of local Caring for Kiriwina training assistance to help with translation and liaison with the trainees
  • Resolution of appropriate visas required for entry into PNG
  • Liaison with Village leaders to seek formal acceptance of the training program in their Village
  • Liaison with the local health clinic at Losuia to ensure compatibility with existing birthing protocols

Example VBA Training Program from the April 2017 workshop schedule

Monday April 24th


Meet with interpreters and key people and Health Workers / Nurses / Midwives / Doctors from the Losuia clinic to discuss:

  • Overview of what is happening and how things are done in Kiriwina
  • The relationships and communication with VHVs and any concerns
  • The referral process
  • Emergency processes
  • Equipment available
  • Registration
  • Packing silk bags for distribution

Tuesday April 25th

Get to know each other
Normal pregnancy and birth

Wednesday April 26th

Labour  – revising what is normal

  • warning signs and what to do

Thursday April 27th

Birth –Warning signs and what to do

  • Different births
  • Bleeding
  • Baby not breathing

Friday April 28th

After the birth  – postnatal care of the woman

  • Postnatal feelings
  • Staying healthy
  • Baby
  • Importance of skin to skin
  • Breastfeeding
  • Behaviour
  • Baby safety

Caring for Kiriwina needs additional funding to continue this on-going essential work.   Your generous donation will ensure the quality of maternity care services is improved which we know saves lives.  Please CLICK HERE where you can use PayPal or Credit Card to make your much needed donations.


Manly Daily article 23/2/2017


Shea Caprice (midwife educator) Vanessa Palfreeman and Jodi Lawton are part of the Australian Contingent heading for Kiriwina on April 22nd. Article Ali Lowe, Photo courtesy of the Many Daily Picture: Phillip Rogers