Sunny Coast midwife Jan Becker volunteering in Tanzania.
Sunny Coast midwife Jan Becker volunteering in Tanzania. Contributed

The Coast midwife bringing hope to families in Africa

SHE'S the Sunshine Coast midwife that is giving her industry global recognition.

Operating out of the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital, Jan Becker regularly finds herself half a world away volunteering in the sub-Sahara in Tanzania.

It's a place where babies are not given names until days after they are born. Too strong is their fear due to the low neonatal survival rate for both mother and child.

 

For these families, just being alive after being is the main goal.

Coming from casual work at a hospital where a maximum 100 babies are delivered per month, Jan and her husband Mike assist a hospital that deliver 100 per day.

She said they are such glaring statistics she finds impossible to ignore.

"Where I worked was a small regional hospital with a catchment of one million people," Mrs Becker said.

"They have eight beds (benches really as she puts it) for the delivery process, afterwards it is five to a bed, no sheets, no drugs, they have to bring gloves.

 

HERE TO HELP: Sunshine Coast midwife Jan Becker volunteering in Tanzania.
HERE TO HELP: Sunshine Coast midwife Jan Becker volunteering in Tanzania. Contributed

"The last time we were there Mike got running water, power, plumbing and pests fixed. It is incredibly raw conditions and on the same planet as us which is staggering.

"But is the mother's dream for her and the baby to be alive. That is it.

"The doctors and midwives over there do an incredible job but they need help."

A Sunshine Coast University nursing science graduate, last week she became the latest recipient to win the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award.

But her work in the Amana Hospital is not the only thing the Yandina Creek resident was recognised for.

 

Award winners: Megan Leane, Mathew Davis and Jan Becker.
Award winners: Megan Leane, Mathew Davis and Jan Becker. Contributed

Being the daughter of an New South Wales crop duster - she said flying was in her blood - it continued with her own family.

After founding the Marcoola company in 1996, The Beckers Helicopter Group have now amassed a fleet of 18 Bell 206 turbines and a fixed-wing Duchess aircraft to train pilots.

They sink in 15,000-18,000 hours of pilot training a year to an annual cohort of about 120 students.

Their students are both civil and military pilots, and the training available extends right up to the most advanced night vision goggles specialisation.

"Mike started flying choppers and we worked together, now we train pilots up," captain Becker said.

 

Sunny Coast midwife Jan Becker volunteering in Tanzania.
Sunny Coast midwife Jan Becker volunteering in Tanzania. Contributed

"Helicopters offer a different skill set to 20 years ago. They are used in all sorts of operations.

"Boarder control, floods, fires, it is a sophisticated job and requires a different kind of training.

"I love the work we do over there. We have a great team at Beckers but we have the have chance and the choice to make a difference."

In front of 200 people Mrs Becker was presented the 2017 award for her incredible philanthropy.

 

Sunny Coast midwife Jan Becker volunteering in Tanzania.
Sunny Coast midwife Jan Becker volunteering in Tanzania. Contributed

While she accepted it as a single, she said it was for the collective.

"Accepting this award always felt like I was getting it on behalf of all the caring midwives before me and the ones to come," she said.

"I feel it is a great big tick for us. It was a wonderful acknowledgement."

Fellow USC award winners included Mathew Davis - the regional achievement award and Megan Leane the rising star award.



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