Conception in Kadjina to Birthing in Broome ~ one woman’s journey thread through the complexities of delivering remote health care in a high risk pregnancy

Ms Kristy Newett1

1Kimberley Population Health Unit, Broome, Australia


The issue of geographical location in remote communities across Australia can impact on antenatal and postnatal care. The women who choose to receive antenatal and postnatal care in the Kimberley region are also often confronted with the status of the label ‘high risk pregnancy’ due to the highly diverse health requirements that our Indigenous clientele often face. Combining multifaceted health issues are social and cultural complexities that can also impact on one’s care. Climatic extremes combined with poor road infrastructure often lead to difficult access to care scenarios which is evident in this case study of one woman’s journey living remotely in a Kimberley community.

Combining my own previous clinical experience working across the Fitzroy Valley involving a large cohort of antenatal women under my care, and in my current role with the Nini Hethiwan project, has enabled me to reflect on regional systemic issues & factors impacting on women’s pregnancy care with the aim of improving maternity services for mothers’ and their babies.

The Nini Project is between both Western Australia Country Health Service (WACHS) and Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS), which involves working across the region covering all communities and clinics. As a Research Midwife, I have a role assessing processes and implementing peer led targeted support for antenatal and postnatal care providers. In the context of this presentation following a woman’s journey, I will navigate the complexities of receiving remote health care whilst incorporating a pregnancy with numerous risk factors. I am wanting to illuminate some of the challenges faced by women and clinicians which include:

  • Access to services
  • Cultural considerations
  • Distances of travel
  • The necessity for collaborative work amongst clinicians

This will encompass the systemic factors that clinicians often face within a remote setting in such a large region called the Kimberley.




Kristy has worked across the Kimberley region for 9 years however the work undertaken as the Community Midwife in the Fitzroy Valley for 5 years allowed her to take the title of Winner in the Western Australia 2015 Excellence in Midwifery awards. In 2016 Kristy commenced and completed a Masters in Women’s Health Medicine, drawing on the current services and clientele of the Kimberley and linking it very closely with her current position on the Nini Helthiwan project. As a Research Midwife for KPHU, Kristy is currently looking at ways to improve maternity care for women across the region.