The award winning Moort Boodjari Mia midwifery service in Western Australia has launched an online petition in an effort to prevent the state government from closing the service as of June 1, 2016.
Moort Boodjari Mia, meaning ‘Family Pregnancy House’ in Noongar, provides ‘culturally safe, holistic, antenatal and postnatal services for Aboriginal women and their families.'
Their petition has gained significant online support, reaching over 25,000 people in its first week.
Comments on the petition, several from women who have benefited from the service, reflect significant community support for maintaining this service.
“This program helped me through my pregnancy. It was great to be able to understand what was happening to my body and being informed on the welfare of my unborn son. Please let this program stay,” commented Karleigh Barras.
Kirra Cox wrote that as a young mother, she found the service invaluable:
"I'm signing because they helped me thru my first pregnancy when I was only 15, took me to all my appointments helped me thru a lot at a young age becoming a young mum helping me understand what was going on when I didn't know or understand ... They are now helping me with my second pregnancy! The ladies are amazing I hope everyone can help them out please share.”
The petition has also attracted support from other midwives and health professionals, like Cherith Graham who commented that, “as a midwife, I know firsthand just how important culturally appropriate midwifery care is to all women and especially to Aboriginal women and their families. The loss of this service would have devastating far reaching consequences for these families - it is not a luxury but an absolute necessity to be funded to allow it to continue!”
A letter from the Moort Boodjari Mia Advocacy Group addressed to WA Premier Colin Barnett, and the Minister for Health Dr Kim Hames states that: “The decision to de-fund this valuable service does not appear to be founded on a proper consideration of the potential negative repercussions for Aboriginal women, their families and the wider community now and in the future."
"We would urge our parliamentary representatives to seriously re-consider the decision to axe this valuable and effective service that serves as an inspiration for how such services should be delivered for and by Aboriginal people.”
The petition is calling on Western Australian Minister for Health, Dr Kim Hames, to commit to funding Moort Boodjari Mia beyond June 1.