A Tiwi experience of antenatal/postnatal working together

Ms Marie Daniel1

1Doh Top End Central, Wurrumiyanga. Tiwi Islands, Australia


This presentation is about a Tiwi experience which we undertook with antenatal ladies and then the follow up post natally in the community. This is in essence a presentation about how the midwife and the Strong woman, strong babies, strong culture (SWSBSC) worker, a Tiwi lady, work together.

Being a mother in a remote part of Australia is fraught with challenges, distractions, humbug, family problems, money, food security. Then there is th e social media and lack of concentration listening to messages about antenatal care. People calling out, driving past, phones ringing. Jealousy issues. This is a common scenario in many communities. we took then out bush to get them away from the everyday distractions that exist in their lives, away from the mobile phones, the humbug, the unnecessary interruptions.

With the SWSBSC worker we took them out hunting, then cooked the hunted food by a waterhole and swam. Relaxed and in a natural environment that was familiar to them they listened. They also became a strong network among themselves and supported each other.

We are a Primary Health Care service and what we learnt was the traditional way of presenting ante & postnatal education at a clinic level in a room is not practical for these women – they become bored with pictures and words. We found that out in the bush, in a place they respected and they loved, they relaxed and messages were heard and that assists us to provide better outcomes.

None of this would be possible without the SWSBSC worker and my presentation would like to enforce how we do that and the show the outcomes that benefit the families involved when we work together.


Marie Daniel is an experienced Remote Area Nurse and Midwife. She holds a Bachelor in Health Science, a Graduate Diploma in Child and Family Health Nursing and a Diploma in Community Health Nursing. Marie has had a varied and long career mainly in primary health care in rural and remote Australia and South Africa. She is now into her fifteen year on the Tiwi Islands, previously as the Primary Health Care Manager and the last three years in the role of Remote Area Midwife.