A kaleidoscopic coral reef of knitted beanies

Beanies for newborn babies in Papua New Guinea (PNG). That’s right, knitted beanies. Beaumaris Rotarians, Julie Reith and Sue McArthur and their friends, have been busy knitting beanies for newborn babies in PNG.   Gente meravigliosa.

But why beanies?  You’re probably thinking PNG is in a warm, temperate zone!  And you’d be right.  But, as anyone who’s trekked the Kokoda Track will know, while day time temperatures can be between 24 to 32 degrees Celsius, night time temperatures can drop to anywhere between 18 to 2 degrees. Night frosts are common.

In the Highlands of PNG, in the numerous rural villages scattered throughout the countryside, average night time temperatures in some months are 10oc.  And obviously, if that is an average, sometimes temperatures can be a lot lower. 

Hypothermia is a major cause of infant mortality in PNG. 

Julie and Sue’s colourful and bonny beanies are part of Beaumaris Rotary’s continued contribution to The Highlands Foundation Mother and Baby Pack Project.  The beanies will be included in the mother and baby packs bound for hospitals and villages in the Western Highlands or Eastern Highlands of PNG. 

The Highlands Foundation has been providing medical equipment and supplies, and training for health care centres in the Highlands of PNG since 2004; working with Goroka Base Hospital in the Eastern Highlands and Mount Hagen Hospital in the Western Highlands.

Baby packs are an incentive for women to attend hospital.

According to The Highlands Foundation, the baby packs, which typically comprise baby clothes, woollen beanie, wrap, baby blanket, cloth nappies and small soft toy, are ‘an incentive for women to attend hospital for both antenatal clinics, education, and for the birth of their baby’.

‘The Highlands Foundation Mother and Baby Pack Project provides support to mothers and babies, and training and support to midwives in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, wherematernal and infant death rates are amongst the highest in the world’.  

‘The project has made inroads in reducing infant pneumonia and other illnesses by improving hygiene and providing warmth.’ 

For a glimpse into life and work at Kompian Hospital, Enga Province; the next destination for The Highlands Foundation donations, watch: