Midwifery is a role often associated with women, but there are men like Simon James Kopalua going against the grain and choosing to become midwives.

Simon, a registered nurse from Eastern Highlands and Hela provinces, has seen firsthand the growing need for quality maternal healthcare. While working at Marie Stopes PNG as an Outreach Coordinator, Simon found himself in the most remote parts of Western Province – providing health services to people.

“It was really challenging for the people there to receive the right health care because there are no health facilities and professionals to attend to them. As a result, many mothers died trying to give birth in the bush,” explained Simon.

After witnessing the harrowing ordeal of expectant mothers, Simon was inspired to  further  his nursing career. In 2022, he applied for an Australia Awards In-PNG Scholarship to specialise in midwifery. He is currently completing his final year under the Bachelor of Midwifery course at the Pacific Adventist University in Port Moresby.

For Simon, this profession is about breaking gender and accessibility barriers. It is an opportunity to advocate for women’s health, ensuring they are supported from labour through to postnatal care.

“When I learned that my mother had also suffered severe complications during labour with me, it cemented my ambition to become a midwife. I want to help women give birth safely and live a happy life,” Simon said.

 “Being a nurse has taught me that to improve our health system, we need to break barriers and cross cultures – I’m looking forward to applying this as a midwife.”