Returning birthing services to the bush
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.