‘Right place at the right time to save lives’

Australian Doctors International (ADI) Dr Susanne Leenders and her team were at the ready to assist a distressed mother in childbirth on a recent patrol to Kungim, Western Province.

It was Dr Susanne’s first day on patrol when she came into contact with a mother who had been in labour all day. The mother’s progress had stopped and it was clear that there was a rare malpresentation which meant that the labour could be prolonged or obstructed.

Because Dr Susanne assessed the patient after 6pm in the evening any option for referral would have to be the next morning. Instead she was able to consult the obstetric doctor in Tabubil and the decision was made to induce labour in Kungim.

Dr Susanne said: “We had good progression and good foetal condition until the last phase. There were signs of foetal distress. Fortunately we had a team of four ready - Dr Agnes (trained in Midwifery, Nursing Officer), Emma (Community Health Worker), Winnie and myself.”

Dr Susanne and her team performed a successful episiotomy. The baby was successfully delivered but had to be resuscitated using equipment Dr Susanne had on hand from her doctor’s kit. It was a relief for all to be able to place the baby with the mother for warmth and bonding.

When Dr Susanne left before midnight she was still concerned for the baby’s welfare. Fortunately by next morning she received a report that the mother and baby were doing just fine.

Yaman Kutlu, ADI’s PNG Country Program Manager said: “I know all our in-country staff are working so hard and achieving great things in each of their roles. It was incredibly uplifting for me to hear this story as it sums up the importance of ADI’s work for the improvement of people’s lives in PNG.”

Yaman continued: “It was amazing that ADI was able to be in the right place at the right time with a highly skilled and highly capable doctor in Dr Susanne who was able to achieve this great outcome.”

Dr Susanne said: “It was a great teaching opportunity for the three PNG health workers that assisted with the delivery. Being able to save lives while building local capacity makes our work worthwhile!”

This is just one example of the positive impact of ADI’s work in PNG.

Press Release