“Being a midwife is perhaps one of the most fulfilling and rewarding careers,” says Obert Kisava. “I love and value my job.”

Obert dreamt of working in health care at an early age when he felt helpless as his mother laid bed ridden in the hospital. “As a child I could not do much to meet her needs and sometimes I sat back aimlessly watching her in the ward. Her nurses were instrumental in her treatment and recovery. The nurses’ ability to intervene for my beloved mother inspired me as they understood her needs, making her feel comfortable and promptly administering care when required.”

Telling his mother that he would study to be a health care professional so she would never become severely ill again, Obert completed his nursing qualification and spent his early career working in rural areas. “My ambition to become a midwife started when I was working in a rural health facility,” he says, “spending most of my time caring for the labouring mothers and attending to very complicated deliveries. Caring for the newborns who have health problems and caring for mothers who have post-natal depression. These experiences have given me the strength, self-confidence and willingness to realize I can contribute to the great need in this area.”

While he had little skill in deliveries, Obert says that he realised that midwifery was the right career for him. He studied a Bachelor of Midwifery with an Australia Awards scholarship. He sees the Australia Awards as an opportunity for PNG to build and develop an under-resourced health system. He says that most rural areas need more well-trained and skilful midwives to fill the gaps and address the highest rates of maternal and newborn mortality in the region. “I hope to continue inspiring and motivating young people to get educated and join the health workforce, not only to reduce maternal mortality ratio and neonatal mortality rate but also to improve and elevate the health standards in PNG.”

Obert says that an “Australia Awards scholarship is a pathway to many opportunities.” He advises others to have a growth mindset rather than a fixed one, to always have self-confidence and a focused mind. He also believes that if you love and value what you do, it will add value not only to others but also to yourself, which will help you to break barriers and make a difference to your career. “I encourage others considering an Australia Awards scholarship application to build up the workforce and drive change and development of our country PNG.”

Through determination and reliance, Osbert has been promoted to Director Nursing Services for the biggest Catholic health facility in New Ireland Province. He says that this won’t change anything, he will always be willing and available for obstetric emergencies in the facility, and he loves the opportunity midwifery provides for continuous learning.

“I am proud of being a midwife because it is a profession that I value and love to do. Moreover, I am proud when a precious life of a mother and her baby are saved. When they smile at me and say thank you, I feel more than happy and satisfied by what I have done.”