Westmead Hospital nurse Mengting Liu has just returned from a three-month stint in Tanzania where she put her medical skills to good use – delivering babies in the local hospital.
Meng spent several months volunteering at the Levolosi Hospital in Tanzania after discovering the facility was in need of trained nurses to help in the birthing unit.
Meng admits helping to deliver babies was a baptism of fire as her previous nursing training hadn’t included regular time in birthing and maternity.
“I was a bit self-taught,” she joked.
“But enrolled nurses working in Africa are able to help deliver babies so I was happy to do it; every baby was just so cute, I loved every minute of it.”
Meng said her time in the Tanzania hospital was challenging, particularly given the equipment and resourcing constraints.
“It’s a very different culture,” she said.
“The lack of equipment made things difficult and it was hard to adjust to the different cultural response to birth; because babies have a much lower survival rate and families have a lot of children, mothers are much less excited about giving birth.
“I was always there with a blanket and a cuddle – I loved holding the babies.”
Meng is planning a return trip to Africa soon.