The colonial mythology behind West Papua
The battered metal bowl

In the warriors’ code, there is no surrender

Rumginae arrival
Rumginae's twin arrival


RUGHAZ, WESTERN PROVINCE – Yesterday was my day off from Rumginae rural hospital but I had determined not to sleep in, which is my norm.

I had administrative issues to attend to with my resident Dr Polycarp. That being the case we planned to get the ward work done early and then travel to Kiunga to attend to these.

I woke up refreshed at my interpretation of the crack of dawn and went to work, greeting Polycarp in my office with the usual, "Good morning Polycarp! Isn't it a beautiful day!"

Unbeknownst to me, Polycarp had been up since 2.30 am handling the case of a woman with twins.

Ward round done, we got the safety sticker for the ambulance to Kiunga and completed our administration tasks before heading back to Rughaz where we split and Polycarp attended to Mid Ward whilst I sat in a meeting.

Once that was concluded I reviewed the woman with twins and got specialist advice from two obstetricians who both advised a caesarian section due to both twin's being in breech with a prolonged second stage.

I called together my emergency response team and with the help of the community health students managed to rally all staff, standby emergency blood products and, once all the usual instructions and checks were done, we commenced the caesarian section.

This resulted in a bouncing baby girl weighing 2.3kg born via breech extraction and a second twin weighing 2.03kg born the same way.

Prior to the operation we had said a prayer and, as if the prayer was answered, the operation was smooth and respectful maternal care was maintained throughout.

And so was delivered another vital service for the women of North Fly District.

When it comes to safe delivery options in this area, Rughaz plays an important role in supporting women who need a safe supervised delivery which can be formidable even in the best of circumstances.

The narrative of remote pregnant women's problems being the jurisdiction of others has changed since the inception and establishment of Rughaz.

When it comes to the plight of pregnant women in North Fly, with faith I can rest assured knowing that, in the warriors code, there is no surrender.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

Victor Canning, an English novelist, wrote a delightful novel in 1935 called 'Polycarp's Progress'. That Polycarp would be proud of the work you do at Rumginae.

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