Soroptimists optimistic about saving women’s lives
The world’s biggest shower came to Port Hedland’s All Season’s Hotel last Saturday.
Biggest Baby Shower, that is to say, held by Hedland’s Soroptimist International group who were raising money for “Birthing in the Pacific”, a project created to stop women dying during childbirth in Papua New Guinea.
Dozens of stalls set up by small business owners and health groups enabled visitors to peruse and buy everything from makeup and gifts, to nappy cakes and books.
Silent auctions and raffles also took place and guest speakers like St John’s Ambulance were on board to share information related to families, such as assisting the choking child at home.
Soroptimist International Port Hedland president Lisa Bowen said the occasion was a great way to alert people to the extraordinary conditions in which women in the Pacific often give birth.
“Birthing in the Pacific is about raising money and awareness for upskilling midwives for training birthing attendance, because in Papua New Guinea the majority of women do not have an attended birth,” Ms Bowen said.
As a result, current figures listed by the United Nations Development Program record Papua New Guinea’s maternal death rate as approximately one in 400 births.
By comparison, Australia’s rate is one in 20, 000.
This project has grown in size from being the focus of the Soroptimist Pacific branch to an international Soroptimist concern and group member Shalene McNamara recently attended a conference to learn more about the midwifery situation.
“The job they’re doing over there and the circumstances in which they’re doing it in are just conditions we would not begin to fathom.”
Ms McNamara said things like a lack of electricity or facilities and remoteness complicate the ability of women to have their babies safely.
“[Midwives] have got torches to get through rainforests of a night to be able to attend women to assist them in childbirth,” she said.
New Soroptimist Lynley Atkinson organised the World’s Biggest Baby Shower in Port Hedland and said the event raised more than $1400.
“In terms of donations it’s been fantastic and that’s one of the advantages of this town.
“All you have to do is ask any shop owner, anyone, and everyone is just so willing and so generous to actually give to these causes.”
Soroptimist International Port Hedland loves new to see new women join the organisation.
Contact Lisa Bowen on 9173 1303 if that’s you.