A queenstown midwife will trek to the roof of the world to teach lifesaving birthing skills to villagers.
Diana Watson embarks on a seven-week volunteer mission to Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas next month – and she is appealing for Queenstowners to donate new toothbrushes and stationery to take with her.
The 46-year-old was inspired to make the trip after delivering a baby for a Nepalese family living in Mount Cook.
Watson will visit remote villages, teaching basic but vital emergency obstetric techniques that will help save babies’ lives in what is one of the poorest nations on earth.
Watson, of Arrow Junction, says: “Women and babies are still dying over there at an alarming rate, mostly in rural villages where they are struggling along without any professional help.
“I’ll focus on basic CPR. It’s something that is so simple to teach and to learn but vital.
“Another emergency you get in childbirth is the baby’s shoulders being stuck – so I’ll teach the manoeuvres needed to release them,” Watson says.
“And I’ll also teach the steps they can take to prevent haemorrhaging.”
Watson intends to trek to 10 remote villages, spending three days in each before heading higher into the majestic mountain range.
The mum-of-two, who has volunteered extensively in Africa and Asia, will also spend a week at Sir Edmund Hillary’s hospital in Khunde, helping Sherpa doctors with deliveries.
“I told the Sherpa family in Mount Cook I wanted to volunteer in Nepal,” she says.
“Their brother is a dentist in Kathmandu and organises trips for US dentists. So they put me in touch.”
The group, which includes four US dentists, will leave on February 28 and walk to Everest Base Camp at 5184 metres.
Watson, a midwife for 15 years who works as a locum at Lakes District Hospital, is appealing for donations of new toothbrushes, notebooks, pens, pencils, stickers and other gifts. Donations can be dropped off at Salvation
Army stores, Queenstown, or St John, Frankton.