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Mater. Exceptional People. Exceptional Care.


Refugee Maternity Service celebrates its first year

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The guests of honour ranged in age from 12 months to just 12 days when Mater Mothers’ Hospitals’ Refugee Maternity Service celebrated its first birthday in December 2009.

Around 90 people gathered in Robinsons Park at Fairfield in Brisbane’s south to celebrate the occasion, which provided an opportunity for refugee families to come together, catch up with friends and show off their beautiful babies.

More than 165 refugee women delivered babies with the support of the service in its first 12 months of operation.

Refugee Maternity Service midwife Michelle Steel explained that pregnant refugee women may have a range of pre-existing medical conditions, many of which have been shown to impact maternal, fetal and neonatal health.

“Social issues are sometimes the biggest challenges we face,” she added.

“Supporting families and helping them on the path to their new lives is part of what we aim to do.”

The Refugee Maternity Project identifies and develops a best practice model to support appropriate health care, psycho-social support and resources for refugee women birthing at Mater Mothers' Hospitals.

Salisbury resident Assanatu Bah was a midwife in Sierra Leone before she was forced to flee political persecution in her home country as a result of her stance on women's rights.

Mrs Bah was separated from her husband during her escape with her children, and was only recently reunited with him in Australia—some 10 years later.

Their new son Ahmed was born at Mater on 17 June 2009.

Mrs Bah is now studying to gain recognition as a midwife in Australia and her husband is working towards counselling accreditation.

The Refugee Maternity Project was commenced in November 2008 in response to an identified unmet community need and is generously supported by the Sisters of Mercy.

Assanatu Bah and baby Ahmed

Assanatu Bah and baby Ahmed celebrate the first birthday of Mater’s Refugee Maternity Service. Image courtesy The Courier-Mail.


To ensure we continue our commitment to meet the health care needs of the community, Mater has developed business strategies which address the issues of financial, social and environmental sustainability.

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