New maternal village a home away from home for mums


Giving birth is a serious business, and best done under medical supervision.
Getting to a hospital in time hasn’t always been easy in Southern Highlands, which has some of the more-remote communities in the country.
Nowadays, however, it has become easier for those living in the province’s Pimaga district.
Up and running since last December, the Pimaga maternal waiting village is a welcome ‘home away from home’ for mothers-to-be.
It’s a place where mothers are welcome to stay in the final weeks of pregnancy, and safely await the onset of labour.
Located next door to Pimaga District Hospital, the village is a partnership between Oil Search Foundation, Southern Highlands provincial health authority, district development authority, and the Pimaga community.
It is built with local labour and materials.
Equipped with separate rooms, mattresses, electricity, toilets and showers, it’s filled with modern comfort and combines them with features like a traditional-style kitchen building, ‘haus win’ and gardens.
“The idea is to give mothers an atmosphere very much like their home to make them comfortable and relaxed,” said hospital supervisor, Michael Puma.
“We also allow the husband and younger children to accompany the mother and share her room.
“The village came about because of the high maternal death rates experienced in Pimaga district.
“Women need to access a trained health provider to deliver their babies, which is very hard in remote areas, due to distance.
“Health services can be up to a full-day’s walk and financial constraints.”
Lovina John is one of 22 women since the new service opened to have safely delivered her baby after a stay at the village – and her husband Chris Dome is still singing its praises.