“…..my interest is always in the maternal mortality so I utilize my management and midwifery skills as well as my teaching experience to contribute to saving lives of the women in PNG”. Imparting skills and knowledge to midwives to reduce the high mortality rate in PNG.
Paula Puawe, a proud recipient of Australia Awards graduated from Curtin University of Technology in 2012 with a Masters Degree in Health Service Administration. Prior to that, Paula also received a scholarship from Australia Awards and graduated successfully in 2003 with a Masters Degree in International Public Health at the University of Sydney.
Paula comes from a family of seven in the isolated part of Southern Highlands Province. Through upbringing she depended entirely on her parents who were subsistence farmers. “Witnessing the struggles that my parents went through made me want to work harder and be who I am today” says Paula. Despite having a lot of challenges, Paula knew that education is the only way to prosper in life so she strived for excellence when the opportunity for education was provided.
Paula became the Deputy Principal of Nazarene School of Nursing after completing her Master’s degree in International Public Health in 2012. In recognition of her leadership qualities, she was appointed as the Director and then CEO of the Nursing Services at the Nazarene Hospital in Kudjip, Jiwaka Province. These leadership roles paved her way to receiving the Australia Awards Leadership Award in 2009.
Since 2009, Paula had moved on and is now a Midwifery Program Coordinator with the University of Goroka. Paula manages and teaches midwifery students from all over PNG who enrol for the Bachelor of Midwifery at the university. Her role is vital in PNG’s development as she imparts skills and knowledge to midwives that will reduce the high mortality rate in PNG.
“ Even though I received offers to work elsewhere, my interest is always in the area of maternal mortality so I thought I could utilize my management and midwifery skills as well as my teaching experience to contribute to saving the lives of women in PNG” she elaborates.
This ambitious woman aims to train 200 midwives before moving on to do her PhD. She thinks that some policies and health systems still require improvements.
She encourages those who are intending to pursue further studies through Australia Awards to be prepared psychologically to deal with changes during studies and when resettling back in PNG.She also thanked the Australian Government for providing the scholarship which gave her new insights to think and work smarter in dealing with maternal health issues in PNG.