Expectant mothers' health a priority for Notre Dame Medicine students

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 25-7-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



More than 1000 expectant mothers in Papua New Guinea will receive Birthing Kits through the work and dedication of Medicine students at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus.

The initiative was inspired by Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia), an organisation dedicated to improving the conditions of women who give birth at home in developing countries.

The Medical Association of Notre Dame University Sydney (MANDUS), along with the School’s Global Health and Social Justice sub-committee, collaborated to assemble the Birthing Kits on Saturday, July 23.

Each Birthing Kit includes six items – a plastic sheet, soap, two gloves, a sterile scalpel blade, three cords and five gauze squares.

President of MANDUS, Brent Doolan, says the challenging environment of postnatal care for people in developing countries can result in extreme discomfort for the mother and her baby.

Mr Doolan says that in some regions of Papua New Guinea it is not uncommon for the umbilical cord to be cut with a sharpened sea shell or a metal blade.

“With an estimated 385,000 women dying annually in childbirth, many from infections acquired during the process, there is a great need for our clean Birthing Kits,” Mr Doolan said.

“We wish to assist by educating expectant mothers on birth practices and work alongside the World Health Organisation’s millennium development goals by helping to improve maternal health internationally.

“As future doctors, it is fundamental for us to understand the improvements that we can accomplish in the developing world. I think this brings our medical students one step closer to this end goal.”

Dean of the School of Medicine in Sydney, Dr Christine Bennett, supported the Birthing Kits initiative of the Notre Dame medical students.

“We are very proud of Notre Dame’s Medicine students and their commitment to making a practical difference to those in need,” Dr Bennett said.

“This Birthing Kit initiative is about rolling their sleeves up and taking action that will, in partnership with the Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia), have a real impact on the health of women and babies in Papua New Guinea.”

Media Contact: Leigh Dawson (+61) 8 9433 0569, Mob (+61) 0405 441 093