Photo: From left: Patricia Akinawi from the Lutheran School of Nursing), Tracey Vege, Anita Aliawi, Stanley Lemb, Cathy Michael and Karlyne Pukaikia from the Oil Search Foundation at Lutheran School of Nursing in Madang
The Oil Search Foundation (OSF) has given four nurses from Hela the opportunity to become trained midwives through a year-long Bachelor of Clinical Midwifery course at the Lutheran School of Nursing in Madang.
The scholarship recipients are Anita Aliawi, Stanley Lemb, Cathy Kapera Michael and Tracey Vege – all from various health facilities in Hela. The scholarships fall under OSF’s Leadership & Education program that contributes to building and enhancing a skilled Papua New Guinean workforce and encourages more young people to pursue and advance their careers.
The nurses were thankful for the opportunity to further their careers and praised the partnership between OSF and the Lutheran School of Nursing.
Ms Vege summed up her appreciation well. “Though I wanted to be a trained midwife, I was not able to pay the school fees. This OSF scholarship that I have been fortunate to receive has given me the opportunity to undertake this midwifery course, which will help me to go back and provide professional midwifery assistance to the health centre
that I have come from.”
Mrs Michael, another one of the scholarship recipients, said Hela Province needs more trained midwives and the help from OSF is a step in the right direction. “Currently, almost all health centres in the province do not have midwives, so there is a real need for trained midwives,” Mrs Michael said. “In my experience as a nurse, I have been in situations where if we had been trained as midwives, we would have been able to assist women better.”
“That is why I am so happy that I am given this opportunity to take this course through the OSF scholarship program, so I can have the skills required to ensure safe deliveries of babies, and serve effectively as a trained midwife in Hela,”
Ms Lemb agreed, saying: “After this midwifery course, we will go back and make a difference in our communities and save more mothers and babies. Due to the limited knowledge I have about midwifery, a lot of times, I find it difficult to help mothers who have complications during deliveries. After this program, I know I will be in a better
position to assist mothers in such situations.”
Oil Search Foundation’s Head of Expansion Programs Serena Sasingian says the scholarships program has the potential to create a ripple effect in communities.
“We believe that investing in frontline health service through education will contribute to the continuous improvement of health statistics and standards in Hela and PNG,” she said.
“Upon completing their course, the scholarship recipients will return to Hela not only as nurses, but as skilled midwives as well, to serve, improve and save more lives particularly in t maternal health.”
The awardees commenced their studies in January and will graduate in March 2019. Lutheran School of Nursing is one of three institutions that has partnered with OSF to roll out its scholarships program in 2018.
The scholarship recipients will also undergo a week-long leadership training session during their semester breaks, aimed at inspiring effective leadership skills and building the leadership capacity of the students.