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To Be Born Upon a Pandanus Mat

Yothuw gayatha dhäwal’ guyaŋa’ nharaw: Redesigning maternity services for Yolŋu mothers and babies living on Elcho Island Northern Territory (NT), using Birthing on Country principles and the RISE translational Framework, to reduce preterm birth and improve health outcomes: A prospective, non-randomised, intervention trial

Painting  & Photograph by: Pat Josse


To Be Born Upon a Pandanus Mat

Yothuw gayatha dhäwal’ guyaŋa’ nharaw

The study builds on the Caring for Mum on Country project and aims to establish and evaluate Australia’s ‘Birthing on Country’ very remote, demonstration site in Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island, Arnhem Land. We will redesign the health service to increase continuity and quality of maternity care as Yolŋu women move through services in Galiwin’ku, Nhulunbuy and Darwin. We will facilitate early medical and allied health referral for women with complex needs and chronic conditions and enable Yolŋu to use Indigenous knowledges across the first 1,000 days by providing djäkamirr (Indigenous doula) support to women during pregnancy, childbirth and until baby turns 2-years old. Improving midwifery care and support through clinical and cultural supervision and greater integration of care and services across the jurisdiction is a key strategy. We will increase Yolŋu engagement, governance, and control as we develop community reproductive health data reports to facilitate reproductive health literacy. The clinical efficacy, acceptability, cost-effectiveness, and cost-benefit of the very remote ‘Birthing on Country’ will be systematically evaluated. 

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Download the East Arnhem Region Mothers and Babies World Café Report, Nhulunbuy, NT (1 - 2 March 2023)


The Pandanus Childbirth Mat, Photograph P.Josse

Related Projects


Research Team

Project Supporters

Chief Investigators

Prof Yvette Roe

Prof Sue Kildea

A/Prof Elaine Ḻäwurrpa Maypilama

Ms Rosemary Gundjarranbuy

A/Prof Anne Lowell

A/Prof Yu Gao

Dr Christine Connors

Dr Sarah Ireland

A/Prof Suzanne Moore

Partner Investigators

Dept of Health NT

Dr Christine Connors

Adjunct Prof Michelle (Mish) Hill

Ms Theresa Clasquin

Ms Mary-Clare Arkcoll

Dr Kiarna Brown

Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation

Ms Laura Hinds

Dr Lou Sanderson

Dr Brownyn Rossingh

Australian Red Cross

Ms Nancy Rarrkminy Gondarra

Artist: Dorothy Marrawungu
Gapuwiyak Culture & Arts

Yalu Aboriginal Corporation

Ms Dorothy Yuŋgirrŋa Bukulatjpi

Ms Anahita Tonkin


Ms Amanda Quinn

Australian Doula College

Ms Renee Adair

Commonwealth Department of Health

Mr Ben Mudaliar

Ms Claire Clack

Ms Tais Topal Silva

Ms Micaela Williams

Other Investigators

Dr Wendy Page

Margaret Kidd

Marina Coorey & Glenda Pryor - Suppliers of Djakamirr Learning Resources (see below)



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Department of Health NT

Commonwealth Department of Health

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