Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ship's cargo bound for PNG mums

Fairfax NZ News
When a $5 million, Nelson-built, multipurpose boat arrives at a remote Papua-New Guinea village soon, it will come with vital equipment collected to save the lives of women during labour.
The Soroptimist International Nelson Club has spent the last three weeks collected donated goods to send with the Morobe Rainforest, a vessel built by Challenge Marine for the remote Papua-New Guinea village of Lae.
Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific is running a project, Birthing in the Pacific, aimed at the fifth United Nations' Millenium Development Goal of improving maternal health.
Worldwide, the organisation has raised $471,000 for improving birthing outcomes in Papua New Guinea.
But the local branch has made a more direct contribution to the cause.
Project organiser Raylene Cresswell said the idea came about three weeks ago, when Soroptimist member Wendy Logan heard the vessel was about to leave for Papua New Guinea empty.
They decided to ask Lae what it needed, and collected a list of medical and birthing supplies. Money came from the wider organisation, as well as donations from local groups.
Advertisements in the newspaper and on the radio in Marlborough and Nelson followed, and soon the group had donations from the public streaming in.
Mrs Cresswell said the response had been "absolutely tremendous" and "overwhelming".
"I hope those girls in Papua-New Guinea are ready."
The gear included 2000 pairs of rubber gloves, as in Papua-New Guinea doctors were often forced to use plastic bags, and other simple items, such as drinking mugs and used clothes.
In Papua New Guinea, one in four women died in childbirth, and there was only one midwife for every 1000 births.
Soroptimist International of Nelson president Rachael Taylor said the whole group had quickly been inspired by the project.
"As a woman in New Zealand you take things for granted. You go into hospital where things are quite safe.
"In Papua-New Guinea they have to travel days to get to hospital over water or hills."
Although it was not yet clear when the vessel would sail, donations had closed, Ms Taylor said.

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