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First Nations midwife's urgent call to support Indigenous mums and babies

[by Maddie Smith]

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Midwives Mel Briggs and Kady Colman with baby. Image: supplied

Huggies® Australia, in partnership with Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery
Charitable Fund (RLIMCF) has launched Huggies® Sister Scrubs – a special campaign to profile the need for more First Nations Midwives - who play an essential role in improving the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies.


Huggies® Sister Scrubs is a special uniform for First Nations Midwives to wear as a symbol of pride - to champion the immeasurable work they do in providing vital care, that reflects the cultures, histories and backgrounds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It’s hoped the nationwide initiative will encourage greater visibility of First Nations Midwives and the work RLIMCF does to increase the representation of qualified carers throughout Australia.

Melanie Briggs, First Nations Midwife and RLIMCF Scholar, said “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infant mortality rates in Australia are unacceptably high. We know
firsthand, the impact of having a First Nations Midwife is immeasurable and can directly impact birthing outcomes and the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and their parents. Visibility is incredibly important and we’re hoping the creation of the Huggies® Sister Scrubs will not only highlight our cause, but actively help us deliver more culturally appropriate care across the country.”


Belinda Driscoll, Kimberly-Clark ANZ Managing Director, said “Our partnership with RLIMCF uniquely highlights the important work First Nations Midwives do to ensure
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies receive the best start to life and have the care they need to thrive. We hope Huggies® Sister Scrubs will bring this issue into National focus, as a rally to promote the need for vital culturally appropriate care and greater representation of First Nations Midwives in the Australian health system, with the long-term ambition for our Huggies Sister Scrubs to be distributed nationally in the future.”


The Huggies® Sister Scrubs design is based on the original artwork by First Nations artist and Midwife, Leona McGrath and adapted by 100% Aboriginal owned and operated designer and manufacturer, Yilay.


It reflects the story of RLIMCF midwifery scholars’ journeys to becoming a qualified First Nations Midwife and the immeasurable role they play in health systems.


Artist, Leona McGrath said “As an artist, mother and Midwife I am proud to be involved in this collaboration with Huggies. This unique design will remind the community about our ambition to support Midwives in their studies, the importance of family and support networks and the incredible impact First Nations Midwives have on Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander mums and babies.”


In addition to the release of the Sister Scrubs uniforms, Huggies has partnered with Coles, to give consumers the chance to contribute towards supporting the work of Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Charitable Fund. During May, for every Jumbo pack of Huggies Newborn and Infant Nappies sold in Coles, $2 will be donated* towards RLIMCF to educate more First Nations Midwives, to improve birth outcomes and the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies.


You can learn more about the Huggies Sister Scrubs campaign and the RLIMCF Midwifery Scholarships here.

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