Returning birthing services to the bush

12 Jul 2010

CRANAplus applauds the joint state­ment from the Aus­tralian Col­lege of Mid­wives, the Roy­al Aus­tralian and New Zealand Col­lege of Obste­tri­cians and Gynae­col­o­gists and the Aus­tralian Col­lege of Rur­al and Remote Med­i­cine read at the end of the col­lab­o­ra­tive con­fer­ence into mater­ni­ty care in Alice Springs last week, regard­ing sup­port to tri­al birthing on country’.

We have been call­ing for this for a long time said CRANAplus Vice Pres­i­dent, Pro­fes­sor of Mid­wifery Sue Kildea, so it is very excit­ing to see such lead­er­ship come from the col­leges.’ The sup­port fol­lows an extra­or­di­nary pre­sen­ta­tion from the Inu­it and Cana­di­an keynote speak­ers who described a mod­el of care that has turned around their mater­nal and neona­tal sta­tis­tics in their remote Inu­it communities.

If we are to use an evi­dence based approach for turn­ing around the poor mater­nal and infant health sta­tis­tics in our own remote com­mu­ni­ties then this is the place to start’ stat­ed Prof Kildea. The Inu­it mod­el uses a com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment approach, com­bines tra­di­tion­al and west­ern knowl­edge to teach mid­wifery in the com­mu­ni­ty to women, some of whom start with very low lit­er­a­cy and numer­a­cy skills, and pro­vides birthing ser­vices up to 6 hours flight from cae­sare­an and spe­cial­ist ser­vices. We have been watch­ing these mod­els for some time and call­ing for an Aus­tralian ver­sion but now they have enough data show­ing amaz­ing results that we would be neg­li­gent not to sup­port what Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties in Aus­tralia have been call­ing for for years’.

It was a hum­ble and respect­ful pre­sen­ta­tion, bring­ing tears to the eyes of the audi­ence, from Har­ry Tulu­gak pre­vi­ous May­or of Puvir­ni­tuq in North­ern Que­bec; Mina Tulu­gak, one of the first Inu­it mid­wives to become reg­is­tered and pre­vi­ous Coor­di­na­tor of the Mater­ni­ty Pro­gram and Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor Vic­ki Van Wag­n­er who has sup­port­ed the pro­gram since the ear­ly days.