Midwife advocates for mothers worldwide

Midwife advocates for mothers worldwide

Mater Mothers’ Hospital midwife Nicola Adams is determined to do her bit to lower the maternal and infant mortality rates in Malawi and put a spotlight on the cause worldwide. 

From the UK, Nicola volunteered for a month at health facilities in one of Africa’s poorest countries–Malawi–before starting work as a midwife at Mater Mothers' in September last year.

Along with her son, she raised a staggering $10 000 to fund a range of programs to improve the quality of life for the Malawian people.

Understandably, the experience had a profound effect on Nicola as a mother and midwife.

She soon learned the devastating reality for many expectant Malawian mothers, that one-in-five of their babies will die either pre or post-delivery due to inadequate antenatal care and poor diet.

“This statistic is shocking but there is hope.  With funding and awareness this rate can be dramatically lowered,” she said.

“The mortality rate for Malawian women is very high with a life expectancy of around 40 years, which is also alarming.”

While in Malawi, Nicola saw first-hand the difference every dollar she raised made to the lives of pregnant women and their families. 

“Some of the funds we raised went to buying three bicycles to transport pregnant women from their village to a health facility so they could receive adequate healthcare and deliver their baby in a safe environment,” she said.

“The facility I worked at only had one set of instruments so we bought more and purchased rechargeable Doppler foetal monitors so that mothers could listen to their children’s heartbeat. 

“It was an amazing moment to see women’s faces when they heard their child’s heartbeat for the first time,” she added.

While Nicola’s generosity and support has helped to save the lives of many women and babies, she said she too had gained a lot from the humbling experience. 

“Working in an environment with basic equipment, it sharpened my clinical skills because I couldn’t rely on technology as we often do in Australia and other first world countries,” Nicola said.

“Delivering babies under such challenging circumstances has only made me a better midwife at Mater and I’ve been able to pass on my experiences and learnings to my colleagues.”

For Nicola, this year’s International Midwives Day, on 5 May, will be a day to reflect on her experiences and the challenges that midwives around the world face to bring healthy babies into the world.

“I want to make people aware of the situation in Malawi and countries like it.  I tell my colleagues at Mater and they can’t believe the adversity that women face to deliver their babies,” she said.

“By sharing our knowledge and improving healthcare we can help to reduce rates of maternal and infant mortality in third world countries. 

“Being a midwife is such a gratifying profession, especially at Mater, as I’m part of a very supportive and passionate team which live out important values of care and compassion every day.

“I feel privileged to be a part a family's life as they welcome their new baby into the world.”

But Nicola’s fundraising efforts don’t stop there. 

She continues to raise money for the cause in Malawi and hopes to visit again to see the progress being made to improve antenatal healthcare in the country.

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