Feb 11, 2020 7:30 AM
Sara David AM
Living Child Organisation

WHEN Australians think about pregnancy , few think of it as a deadly condition. But less than 2500km away in Papua New Guinea, falling pregnant can be a death sentence. Despite it being our closest neighbour , PNG could not be more different to Australia when it comes to maternal health. Expectant mothers living there are up to 35 times more likely to die during pregnancy than pregnant women in Australia. Exacerbating the deadly issue is the high number of pregnancies women in PNG tend to experience. Perth woman and the founder of not-for-profit Living Child, Sara David, right, said having nine to 15 babies was “normal for those who survived childbirth” .“Your body just doesn’t have time to recover . . . so those women are at a much higher risk of bleeding to death,” she said. In 2011 the midwife flew to PNG at the request of male church leaders desperate to put an end to the soaring number of pregnant women dying in their village. “When I met them and heard the women’s stories, I couldn’t believe the number of women dying just because they were pregnant,” Mrs David said. “I couldn’t not do anything after that, so that’s what started the whole thing. I started my own charity.” Seven years later, the mother of two has flown to and from PNG more than 15 times, providing midwifery training, equipment, support and education about family planning. “There was one year where a health worker who heard about us travelled for days to get to our training,” Mrs David said. “She told us she’d lost three mothers in six months. She was desperate for help. “We gave her time, education and some equipment.” Mrs David was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to international humanitarian programs — a mission she has and will continue to dedicate her life to.