“Midwifery is an amazing profession,” says Dennie Mellie Dising. “Being with a mother at the time of agony with labour pain is so stressful, however it is joyful and amazing seeing and assisting a new life emerging into the world.”

Dennie worked in rural and remote health centres in East New Britain for 14 years before deciding to become a midwife. She started as a general nurse in Rabaul, then traversed remote locations like Raunsepna, Guma and Muarunga before settling at the Vunapope Sub Hospital.

Gaining a wealth of skills from her experience, Dennie also saw the need for enhanced knowledge to service remote areas and applied for an Australia Awards scholarship to study a Bachelor of Midwifery. She graduated from Pacific Adventist University in December 2021 and now works as a midwife in Nonga General Hospital.

Dennie’s hope for the future is that more health workers gain knowledge from scholarship programs such as the Australia Awards, so that they can work together to take Papua New Guinea’s health services to the “next level”.

One of Dennie’s most rewarding experiences was while working in Raunsepna where she needed to intervene quickly to save a mother and baby. As the sister in charge, Dennie says she “was able to detect a complication on a mother, a hand prolapse due to transverse lie,” which means that because the baby was positioned horizontally across the uterus rather than vertically, the hand was in the wrong place.

“Walking was the only means of transport,” she explains, “for about three to four hours to a bus stop. It would take another couple of hours by transport to reach the nearest sub health centre and again about another hour until we reach the doctors in the hospital.

“This case was an alarming trial to me when I was the sister in charge at the health facility. What first popped into my mind was to call an expert who was a doctor at Vunapope hospital on a two-way radio, and I was successful with the help of this doctor. They were able to arrange a medivac and a chopper came to rescue this mother quickly for a c-section at Vunapope hospital. The mother and her baby were saved. I was so happy and this I never forget.”

Applications to study midwifery with an Australia Awards scholarship are open until 7 July 2023. Apply online now. [https://www.australiaawardspng.org/study-in-png/midwifery/]