Kate Williams: Malabar Midwives: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Creating a warm hospital welcome for indigenous mums
Compassionate. Committed. Experienced
As a Wiradjuri woman, midwife Kate Williams has cultural insight that makes the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick more welcoming to Indigenous mothers.
Kate provides culturally sensitive care at Malabar Midwives and has helped triple the number of Indigenous women giving birth at the hospital over the past twelve years.
This leads to healthier babies and mothers, many of whom breastfeed and make healthy lifestyle choices.
“Unfortunately, Aboriginal women still face prejudice within the mainstream health system, and if they do not feel comfortable with the service, they will not use it,” says Kate.
She feels grateful and humbled to be voted a Westfield Local Hero by the community.
“It’s such wonderful feedback that what you’re doing makes a difference,” she says.
“Sometimes when you work in health, as a caring profession, you give a lot of yourself, and it’s not very often that you get any thanks. Something as big as this means a lot.”
Kate regularly works after hours, with the Malabar team providing a 24-hour phone service and pregnancy care, so women always have someone familiar to speak to.
Once an indigenous woman is in the hospital system, Kate becomes a passionate and committed advocate for them, speaking up when necessary and reminding non-Indigenous staff to be sensitive to cultural diversity.
“A longer-term outcome of the service is that pregnancy is a soft entry point to health care. A positive experience for the mother often results in her relatives becoming more trusting of the hospital system and more confident about seeking medical assistance,” says Kate.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Malabar Midwives will use its grant to upgrade equipment at their three clinics and provide additional support to women, such as assistance with transport to attend appointments.
“This will allow our organisation to give women the little extras, such as giving new mums and their families fruit and veggie baskets,” says Kate. “These little things can make a real difference.”
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.