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AIPMNH Provincial Coordinating Committee Meeting in Surabaya

Pull by using your right hand, receive (the baby) with your left-hand, as we believe that the right hand is God’s hand.

At the Caesar Palace Hall, Garden Palace Hotel, Surabaya on Wednesday night (7th October 2015) a total of 22 round-tables were neatly arranged and all fully occupied. There were government senior staff such as heads of district Bappeda’s offices, head of provincial health office, dr. Kornelius Kodi Mete, religious leaders, former chair of the Evangelical Church in Timor, Reverend Bobi Liltelnoni and a catholic priest from the diocese of Larantuka, Father Emanuel Hurint, Pr.

The AIPMNH’s Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting was officially opened by the governor of NTT, Mr. Frans Lebu Raya along with Mr. James Gilling from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Australia (DFAT), the Secretary of DFAT, Kristen, the Director General of Nutrition, Maternal and Child Health from the Indonesian Ministry of health, Dr. Anung Sugihantoro M.Kes., the Chairman of Commission V of NTT Provincial Council NTT, Winston Neil Rondo, as well as facilitators and resource persons.

The theme of the activity was “To celebrate and share the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Maternal and Neonatal Health Program’s innovations in NTT”. The meeting was initiated by the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Maternal and Neonatal Health (AIPMNH).

During the meeting, Father Emanuel Hurint, Pr., well known as Romo Boni ‘spoke out’ and shared his experience.

Romo Boni, one of the religious leaders in Flores Timur (Flotim) district, has contributed to saving women and newborns from birth-related deaths. Romo Boni started working in MNH since 2009 when he was assigned to Baniona, Adonara, Flotim district. “It was mid-2009 when I met a doctor – he came to my parish to stay overnight,” Romo Boni recalled. The doctor invited and encouraged all parishioners and Romo Boni to have regular health check-ups at the puskesmas. The doctor said to me, ‘Romo, let’s work together and share the responsibilities. You are responsible for the religious life of the people and I am responsible for their health but let’s share these responsibilities’. The doctor encouraged Romo Boni to be actively involved in health sector. So, when someone who was sick and came to him, Romo Boni would pray for that person before he/she went to see a doctor.

Romo Boni then began to make a campaign on the importance of health via homily during Sunday’s service as he is very passionate to serve the community. “I dedicate myself to serve even in posyandu. The doctors at the posyandu asked me to educate and motivate the communities,” he said. Indeed, Romo Boni is very much familiar to the people in Flotim as he is considered to be leader who can motivate and contribute in the health sector in Flotim.

Romo Boni was normally present during the birthing process and his presence was a special encouragement to support woman to have a safe delivery. “For those women who are Catholics, I encouraged them to bring the rosary and the prayer book” said him. He also encouraged the same thing for the women from non-Catholic faith.           

Right Hand

Romo Boni asked all midwives to help women during child birth by using their right hands. “We believe that the right hand is the hand of God. So, during the delivery process, use the right hand first and followed by your left hand. You must do the same even if you are a left-handed person,” explained Romo Boni. As a result, the midwives at hospitals, puskesmas and other related health facilities in Flores Timur district are now using the rosary and the prayer beads/tasbih in their work. “This message is effective especially when there is also the government’s program called 2H2 intended to help reducing maternal and neonatal deaths in Flotim” said Romo Bon.

Romo Boni has also been listed under the 2H2 Program (2 days before and 2 days after birth) – a program initiated since 2009 by the District Health Office of Flotim, dr. Yosep Usen Aman to save women and newborn from dying in childbirth. (Oby Lewanmeru).

This article was published in Pos Kupang, Monday, October 12 2015

                              Poto: A recent mother and her newborn at Puskesmas Sikumana, Kupang. Photo by AIPMNH

AIPMNH is managed by Coffey on behalf of the Australian Government

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