Papua New Guinea

As a country on our doorstep which has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, Send Hope Not Flowers has spent the last three years providing a particular focus to funding urgent maternal health programs in PNG.

You can elect to specifically support the following projects:

Doctor Barry Kirby

Australian Doctor Barry Kirby is nothing short of inspirational in his one-man battle to lower the death toll in some of the most remote parts of the country. You can read more about his work here.

In Milne Bay in 2012, Dr Kirby trialled an innovative new intervention which offers “mother and baby gifts” of basic supplies for mothers when they attend a supervised birth in a health centre. The gift cost about $28 (Australian) and includes cotton nappies, a blanket, sanitary supplies for the mother and baby clothes wrapped in a plastic baby bath as well as the $5 equivalent cost of a health centre delivery and money for food while the mother is away from her village.

Send Hope Not Flowers provided initial funding for a pilot of 200 mother and baby gifts, and funded its expansion as its success became apparent. So far, Send Hope Not Flowers has donating more than $120,000 to Dr Kirby over the past three years.

In June 2015, a peer-reviewed article just published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found the use of

Dr Kirby’s “mother and baby gifts” had resulted in an 80 per cent increase in the number of expectant mothers receiving medical assistance during labour.

This has seen the death rate drop by a staggering 78 per cent since the intervention began.

These results were presented by Professor Steve Robson at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics in October 2015 in Vancouver Canada.

In December 2015 Send Hope Not Flowers was successful in receiving a $60,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Direct Aid Program to further support the work of Dr Kirby.

The money will extend the mother and baby gift to remote areas inland of Milne Bay, including training for rural health centre staff, the construction of a bush material Waiting House for pregnant women and family planning services.

Professor Glen Mola

Australian Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Port Moresby General Hospital Glen Mola has dedicated more than 45 years to women’s reproductive health in PNG. He provides medical care, training, outreach and health clinics across the country as well as running the busy maternity ward at the hospital.

With just 26 beds, the maternity ward is understaffed and under-resourced and every day struggles to accommodate an average of 45 births. Even simple bars of soap are a scarce resource with each bar cut into ten slivers and latex gloves are washed and recycled.

It is a world away from the hospital experience of Australian women.

Send Hope Not Flowers has worked with the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Professor Mola to coordinate a $30,000 targeted aid package for the hospital which was rolled out in 2014.

Donations made to Send Hope Not Flowers went towards teaching and training equipment for new generations of local health care workers, the restoration of a disused kitchen, and a contingency fund to enable isolated health care workers to identify high risk pregnancies and have women transported to the nearest referral facilities towards the end of their pregnancies.

In depth insight into the hospital and the work of Professor Glen Mola Send Hope would like to thank RANZCOG’s senior coordinator of Asia Pacific Services Carmel Walker for her assistance in providing on-the-ground guidance and liaison in putting this package together.

Living Child

Living Child is a charity Send Hope has partnered with to deliver hands-on emergency obstetric training in PNG.

Volunteer Australian midwives Sara David and Debbie Butters have received successive Send Hope Not Flowers grants to deliver in-service training, teaching resources and professional support to 10 district midwives in the remote villages of East Sepik Province.

They are empowering local health workforces to provide vital assistance to birthing mothers.

In December 2015, Send Hope Not Flowers was successful in receiving a $20,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Direct Aid Program to further support the work of Living Child.

The money will go towards two Full Birth Obstetric Training models which will be used to simulate birth complications and will allow staff to better manage issues including postpartum haemorrhage, manual removal of retained placenta, breech birth, preeclampsia, vacuum extraction and neonatal resuscitation. These training models will be shared with Doctor Barry Kirby for training throughout the Milne Bay Province.