A Melbourne-based couple has been nominated for the Pride of Australia Award for helping mothers who experience high-risk births.
Twice a year, Melbourne-based doctor couple, Dr Atul Malhotra and his wife Dr Arunaz Kumar, visit India on a special mission.
While Dr Atul is a neonatologist, Dr Kumar is an obstetrician and for the past five years the duo has been running a special program, ‘ONESim’ in India.
“It is basically teaching child-birth skills to health care professionals, doctors, nurses and midwives through enhanced simulation technology,” Dr Arunaz tells SBS Hindi.
The couple who migrated from India in 2005 work with Monash Children’s Hospital and Monash Health, in Melbourne's south-east. Dr Arunaz also has her own private practice.
They say they're passionate about researching new and innovative methods to teach and improve processes and lives of mothers and babies who experience high-risk births.
“Five years ago, I got a special grant from the Bill Gates Foundation to implement some of my innovative research. I thought there could be no better place than India to implement it,” says Dr Malhotra.
But on the ground, reality had different plans for them.
“When I went there, I saw the health professionals had extensive theoretical knowledge but no practical hands-on training. That’s when I roped in Arunaz who specialises in simulation teaching methodology,” says Dr Malhotra.
Over the past five years, the husband-wife duo has travelled to India each year and have trained over 1,000 health professionals across Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.
While Dr Arunaz trains professionals with complex child-birth issues, Dr Atul teaches managing babies born during distressed births and providing them with critical care in the first few hours of their birth.
“When we got this opportunity, we grabbed it because it allows us to give back to the country we came from. It allows us to stay connected and share our expertise and train others.
“Recently a midwife whom we trained called to share she successfully delivered a baby whose shoulder was stuck in the birth canal,” shares Dr Arunaz.
It is for this work the duo has been nominated for the community-based Pride of Australia award.
“It is a great honour and we are humbled by this nomination. It further encourages us to keep going and contributing more,” the duo says.