Meet Benjamin Matal, a midwife from Katom village on Karkar Island in Madang Province. With over 20 years of experience as a Community Health Worker (CHW) and a nurse, he has seen his fair share of maternal and infant deaths. Driven by a desire to make a real difference, Benjamin applied for the Australia Awards Scholarship.

“I felt I needed to do something about the maternal and infant deaths, so I applied to the Australia Awards Scholarship. I told my wife, now is the chance to contribute,” he said.

In 2021, Benjamin enrolled at the University of Goroka, where he studied midwifery practices, research, leadership and clinical experience. His hard work paid off, and on April 15, 2023, he graduated, a proud moment for him and his family.

“I am now in a position where I can expand my horizon with my qualification. I can be a counsellor, a clinic manager and a midwife. I feel my qualification has really put me in a position where I can serve under different capacities,” he explained.

Since graduating, Benjamin has been working at the Yagaum Family Health Clinic, treating and counselling mothers and young women, particularly those who have suffered.

He has also attended a two-day clinical leadership course held by Australia Awards PNG and its partners, which has equipped him to work across a range of health services.

“The courses helped me dig deeper into my potential. I most especially enjoyed the auditing, proposal writing and projects,” he said.

Benjamin is part of the larger PNG-Australia Alumni Association, which he can draw upon for support and guidance should he need it. As a rural health worker and an awardee, he is now more confident in delivering better health services for mothers and young girls in underserved communities.

“The Australia Awards Scholarship has really moulded my career, my leadership skills, and has grouped me with leaders in midwifery and with other health workers,” he concludes.