Chairman Dan Furlan: Introduced Jane and Samantha as health professionals who have set up a Maternal Health Training Program for Mongolian women, many of whom are nomadic with no anti-natal education & consequently a high mortality rate at birth. Mongolia has a pop.of 2.8m, 33% below the poverty line and temp’s get to -35o. The ladies have lived and worked in Asia, Mongolia, Northern Territory and locally, and have formed a team of 5 health professionals from Australia and New Zealand, including a Doctor, Obstetrician, nurses and midwives. They will travel to Mongolia to present their pilot program to 50 health professionals in a 5 day training venture, which will then be passed on to many more women.

The goals are to prepare midwives and nurses to teach childbirth education classes, to equip newly trained staff with teaching skills and to create specific training resources. The project must be sustainable for the population to stay healthy, to train others and to pass on their knowledge. 

Rotary International has pledged to support Maternal Health in developing countries. $31,000 funding has been granted, and there is a film project to complete while there so women will see the program as culturally acceptable. Jane, as Lactation Consultant, has written a training manual which must be translated into Mongolian, checked for cultural etiquette, bound into a volume and copied. Jane spoke passionately of her 3 years experience as a nurse in Mongolia and with 3rd and 4th stage cancer services, working in Palliative Care, beds for women’s prisons, projects for the disabled and the blind, to name a few. Samantha, a Childbirth Education Officer and trained teacher spoke knowledgably of the importance of international work and the benefits to expectant mothers who can be educated in what to expect, when to present at hospital, normal/abnormal symptoms, false labour, physical/emotional/mental well-being and the resulting safer, natural births. The project is looking for financial support for travel and accommodation expenses for Mongolian hospital staff who wish to join the project.