Aussie Health Professionals Saving Mothers and Babies in Africa

From the judges: “Strong leadership and good use of staff ambassadors.”

South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) commenced Workplace Giving in 1998. The program’s Steering Committee guide the program, and in 2015 re-launched the initiative, with the introduction of a Workplace Ambassadors program seeing fantastic results. The 22 ambassadors champion Workplace Giving in their hospitals and Health Services throughout the District, which is one of the largest and busiest in NSW. All funds raised through the program are donated to a single beneficiary – the Barbara May Foundation, an Australian-based organisation that aims to relieve the high incidence of death and extreme injury in pregnancy and childbirth in Ethiopia. It receives $10,000 each month.

To keep staff engaged with the Foundation’s achievements, the program hosts regular visits from the team in Ethiopia. In August this year Valerie Browning, one of the Ethiopia-based founders, visited staff at Campbelltown Hospital and shared the challenges that the Barbara May Foundation has in delivering maternal care. She also reiterated how much SWSLHD support was appreciated. The choice of charity partner resonates extremely well with the District’s workforce of health professionals. This was evidenced when midwives from the Campbelltown Hospital presented Ms Browning with hand-knitted beanies and caps for the Ethiopian babies.

SWSLHD holds its Workplace Giving Month push in October. In 2017, Dr Andrew Browning, another of the Foundation’s founders, attended events across hospitals to thank staff for their support. In addition, the program’s Ambassadors held special events such as morning teas, BBQs and competitions to help recruit new staff donors. The program enjoys significant leadership support with seven Executive Sponsors supporting the Ambassador team and Chief Executive Amanda Larkin an active member of the program’s Steering Committee.

At the close of the 2017 financial year, SWSLHD was delighted to find that program support had grown so much over the year that it was able to not only increase the ongoing monthly donation to the Barbara May Foundation, but also provide an additional one-off $40,000. SWSLHD have committed to growing program participation by an additional five per cent in the coming year, taking it to 30% of the 11,053 employees. The average staff donation is $52 per year.