“For a number of years, all high risk mothers have had to be referred to Rarotonga to ensure safe delivery for both mother and child as Aitutaki Hospital did not have an incubator to care for babies born prematurely or with conditions that required special care,” says Aitutaki Hospital manager, Tara Tschan-Toi.
The hospital received a donation of a new incubator on December 13. It was blessed at a special presentation to Aitutaki Hospital, represented by the Member of Parliament for Amuri, Toanui Isamaela, mayor Tekura Bishop and Aitutaki Hospital staff.
“Due to a caring and dedicated group of women (Te Iti Vaine Aroa) Aitutaki Hospital has been blessed with a brand new incubator, for which we are humbly grateful,” said Tschan-Toi. “We are now able to provide quality care for our babies in need of this unit.”
The idea to buy an incubator was instigated by business woman Ngapare Tatira of Aquila’s Store whom after reading a newspaper article earlier this year that Aitutaki Hospital was in need of an incubator, immediately approached Tschan-Toi to tell her she wanted to fundraise for an incubator. This led to a group of women including Tatira, Misepa Isamaela, Ine Challans, Tschan-Toi, Rosa Henry and Tearoa Toi, to form Te Iti Vaine Aroa (TIVA), and making the incubator one of the first projects that they would undertake as a group. The group is a registered civil society organisation with the sole purpose of identifying the essential needs of vulnerable people, and supporting the welfare of the Aitutaki community.
In July 2016, they held a radiothon to raise funds for the incubator which was very successful. Additional support was also received from various businesses and the community, such as Matson Shipping who waivered the sea freight cost from New Zealand to Aitutaki, Aquila Store, Rotaract Rarotonga, Horn-Smith family, Prime Foods, Aitutaki Businesses/Community, Ports Authority, MFEM, and BSP Bank.
“The Ministry of Health and Aitutaki Hospital Staff extend a big Meitaki Atupaka to TIVA for incubator,” said Tschan-Toi.