Betty Roikeni is a Village Health Volunteer in Haunasi Village in South Malaita, Malaita Province. Trained by World Vision, Betty, 53, lives in an area with limited access to health care facilities.
In good weather, the nearest clinic is almost 40 minutes away by boat. In bad weather the journey takes much longer.
Betty spends her free time as a volunteer helping those in need of health care such as pregnant women, babies and infants.
“I am passionate about this role because many men and women don’t know how to look after pregnant mothers or young children.”
Betty is driven by her past. She lost two babies shortly after their delivery. The first child died in 1987 and second in 1988.
Now she is determined to stop others from losing their loved ones.
Since becoming a Village Health Volunteer, Betty has received training from World Vision as part of the Maternal Child Health Nutrition project.
Her role is to encourage new mothers to look after themselves properly and to take good care of their baby, with good nutrition and regular health checks. In her village, Betty has had to help some women deliver babies, especially when a couple or single mother can’t afford the cost of traveling to the nearest clinic.
Sometimes I have to paddle a canoe to get the pregnant mother to the clinic myself.
“I encourage parents to go to the clinic for a proper delivery. Sometimes I have to paddle a canoe to get the pregnant mother to the clinic myself,” Betty says.
She says she has realized the importance of the Village Health Volunteer. Every time she attends someone who needs her help, she feels proud.
Betty says she is gaining more knowledge and is enjoying her role as a Village Health Volunteer, a task her she has been performing since 2012. Now her husband too, has also joined up to be a Village Health Volunteer.
The Maternal Child Health Nutrition project is supported by the Government of Australia.