In what was described as “helpless” by a parent from Vanapa Brown in Kairuku Hiri District of Central Province who needed transport to rush his daughter down to Port Moresby General Hospital, a desperate call to toll – free St. John Emergency number 111 saved first- time mum.
Samuel Maia’s eldest daughter complained of labour pains and as the contractions became frequent and the pain unbearable for the first-time mum, the family felt helpless of looking for a vehicle to take her down to PMGH.
She had complained of similar pains two days prior and the family rushed her from Vanapa Brown to Port Moresby General Hospital but only to find out it was false labour.
The little savings they had was spent during the first trip into Port Moresby and the two days spent at the hospital and because it was expensive in Port Moresby and they had no family with whom she could stay in the city, the family decided to return home.
Maia said when the real labour occurred; they had no more money to spare and no time to wait if they wanted their daughter to safely give birth at a hospital.
In the midst of contemplating what to do, they thought of St John Ambulance and Maia promptly dial the toll-free number 111 on which his call was received at the St John Emergency Coordination Centre in Port Moresby and an emergency ambulance was immediately dispatched.
“I can’t say thank you enough for St John Ambulance for dispatching the ambulance crew as soon as I called.
When she got on the ambulance, I knew she was in safe hands and I had no doubt if she was to give birth along the highway, the highly-trained ambulance professionals would be able to assist.
“My daughter has given birth safely at Port Moresby General Hospital thanks to St John.
“She has returned to the village with a healthy baby girl,” the proud grandfather said.
St John’s Chief Executive and Advanced Paramedic Matt Cannon said the story highlights, how better coordination of ambulances will make a further impact on maternal care and the ability for women to give birth in the care of health workers.
But this isn’t the case for women who live outside of the areas covered by St John.
Statistically, 60% of women in PNG give birth without a health professional present. 61% of women are more than 2 hours away from an obstetric and newborn care facility.
Child mortality in rural populations is doubled that of urban children.
Approximately 30% of all rural Aid Posts are closed and medical facilities have inadequate medical supplies for up to 83% of the year.