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EnhanceTV :: Video Download :: Foreign Correspondent: Dr Dim Dim

Foreign Correspondent: Dr Dim Dim
Foreign Correspondent: Dr Dim Dim 
Carpenter Barry Kirby's life turned upside down when he chanced upon a young woman dying on a bush road in PNG. The Australian tradie became a doctor with a mission: saving women's lives in the wilds of Papua New Guinea. Foreign Correspondent joins him on his island rounds.

The headlights picked up a dark shape on the edge of the track. Barry Kirby slammed his car into reverse and discovered a young woman, dangerously ill.

"She sort of just looked at me and smiled. She had the most beautiful smile" - Barry Kirby

The hospital couldn't help. By morning the woman was dead. It was 25 years ago, but Kirby still chokes up at the memory of the fleeting encounter that transformed his life.

Kirby was 40. He tossed in his job as a freewheeling carpenter in the PNG highlands and spent the next decade studying to become a doctor. His quest now is to save the lives of women in the remotest parts of PNG, one of the most dangerous places in the world for women to give birth. In PNG the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth is about one in 30; in Australia it's one in 10,000.

"Congratulations mama, baby girl!" - Kirby to young mother, Vinka, as her baby Miriam makes a safe arrival

Correspondent Liam Cochrane joins Kirby on his rounds through the spectacular D'Entrecasteaux Islands in easternmost PNG. It's an adventure by boat and foot to reach villages that haven't seen white people - or "dim dim" - in years.

"So what we're gonna do now is get her on a stretcher down to our boat, get across the bay and get her to the hospital, stabilize her and see how we go from there" - Kirby with an emergency case

Barry Kirby and his team hop between islands handling emergencies and routine births. They train up locals in the basics of midwifery. They distribute hundreds of life saving "baby bundles", a collection of basics like nappies, soap and baby clothes. It's a brilliantly simple way of enticing expectant mothers to trek to the relative safety of health clinics and away from the perils of giving birth in the bush.

"I'm just a real doc. It's my job to help these mothers out, so you do whatever that takes" - Barry Kirby

Duration (mins) 60
Date of broadcast 15/9/2015
Time of Broadcast 20:00
Channel ABC
Price: AUD19.50
including GST


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