Mum’s good-hearted trip to help Kiriwina mums and bubs

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Jodi Lawton, Vanessa Palfreeman and Shea Caplice are going to Kiriwina in Papua New Guinea to educate about safe childbirth. Picture: Phillip Rogers

By Ali Lowe, Manly Daily

Jodi Lawton, Vanessa Palfreeman and Shea Caplice are going to Kiriwina in Papua New Guinea to educate about safe childbirth. Picture: Phillip Rogers

CARE is the keyword for a local who has organised an educational trip to Kiriwina in Papua New Guinea.

Mother-of-two Jodi Lawton, along with Balgowlah midwife Shea Caplice and three others, will head to the small island in a bid to educate villagers about basic and emergency skills needed in childbirth.

In rural Papua New Guinea the mortality rate in childbirth is one in seven, with a maternal mortality rate of three in 1,000 live births.

Mrs Lawton’s Caring for Kiriwina project will bring together 100 women who assist in local births — essentially as untrained midwives — and inform them using fake pelvises and dolls.

Women will be given kits comprising items such as scalpel, pad, wipe and birth certificate, translated in to the local dialect by Mrs Lawton’s father-in-law Ralph.

“My husband Doug’s family were missionaries in Kiriwina and had their children there. Their whole lives have focused around the island and its people and Ralph’s wife Margaret started helping these untrained midwives. I couldn’t abide the thought of their work falling by the wayside,” Mrs Lawton, 50, said.

Mrs Lawton added a brush with breast cancer herself made her want to help.

“You face death and you think, ‘What am I here for?’ Cancer made me realise there is more to life and that I needed to give back. I feel like it’s my calling.”

Mrs Lawton and her Kiriwina crew — including Ralph and Margaret’s daughter Jenni, who was born on the island, midwife Jacqui Andrews and support representative Vanessa Palfreeman, will leave for the island on April 22.

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