'Life changing' Bali mission 'changed our family forever'
A VISIT to a Balinese hospital during her training inspired a Tweed Heads midwife to return to Denpasar as a volunteer to help teach Indonesian midwives safer birthing techniques.
Tania Paxton described her 13-month assignment with Australian Volunteers for International Development mentoring midwives at Sanglah Public Hospital as a life-changing experience, one she was lucky enough to share with her partner Jy, and their four children.
"This has changed us as a family,” Mrs Paxton said.
"We've experienced things that have changed us forever; from helping street dogs - we fostered 10 - to experiencing two earthquakes, Sunday night dinners with other volunteers, swimming with mantas, climbing volcanoes and the generosity of now lifelong friends.
"It's become clear that we will never be able to go back to our regular life unchanged.”
Mrs Paxton was inspired to volunteer after visiting a Balinese hospital during her midwifery training.
"I felt inspired by the midwives I learnt from and wanted to return to Bali to help the Balinese women have safe gentle births,” she said.
Mrs Paxton gained valuable professional experience on her mission.
"Birthing women in Bali have historically received their care from traditional midwives in their homes or the midwives' homes,” Mrs Paxton said.
"When they encountered complications, there was increased risk of maternal or perinatal death.
"In recent times there has been an increased number of government-trained midwives, however they have been unable to train in emergency skills.
"By providing education for midwives it reduces the risk, helps them to be empowered and create positive change.”
With International Volunteer Day on December 5, Mrs Paxton encouraged residents to research volunteer opportunities.