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On the road to where she is needed

For many, winning a campervan would be a ticket to enjoy a dream holiday but for one midwife, it is the perfect vehicle to help her make a difference.

When Ona Macleod looks out the window of her Murwillumbah home and sees the brand new campervan parked out front she has to remind herself that it really belongs to her.

Once this sinks in, she then resists the urge to get lost in her daydreams about all the places she is now able to see.

And all the people she is going to help.

Winning a $110,000 campervan for many would be a ticket to enjoy a dream holiday but for Macleod, a practicing midwife, it is the perfect vehicle to help her make a critical difference in rural communities that don’t have access to regular maternity care.

“Australia is experiencing a crisis in the midwifery profession with shortages all over the country but regional areas are feeling the impact more than anyone,” said Macleod, who won the campervan in the Winnebago competition on Better Homes and Gardens.

“Winning this has now given me the ability to take my expertise to the bush, which is fantastic as that is where people need it the most.

“Doing this was the first thing that popped into my head when they told me I had won.”
Sixty-year-old Macleod has been practicing midwifery for over 20 years and is no stranger to the difficulties that pregnant women in the country experience when they have a lack of access to professional care.

“When women experience complications during their pregnancy in an isolated area, the closest hospital can be many hours away,” said Macleod. “If there are no qualified midwives available then it makes the process much more difficult for expectant mothers.

“Although I can’t be everywhere at once, the ability for me to go where I am needed without the complications of finding accommodation every time is going to be great.”

As tempting as it was to pack up straight away and hit the road with her husband, she decided it was best to first have a plan. The first step in that plan was making the decision to leave the trip until next year. And she can’t wait.

While based in Murwillumbah for work, during her time away from the hospital she goes back to her home and husband in Tully. While there was no structural damage, Cyclone Yasi left their home in a mess.

“I think we both deserve this trip.”

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