In a world where healthcare inequalities persist, and families and children struggle to access essential medical services, there's one man on a mission to make a profound impact.
Meet Doctor Rob Baume, a passionate UNICEF supporter who is transforming the lives of families around the world with his initiative, Twice the Doctor.
Australian doctors giving back
As a father of three, Rob knows the importance of giving children their best chance of growing and thriving, no matter where they are.
"I started Twice the Doctor when I was thinking of heading to Africa to work there, but figured there was a much more efficient and effective way to do things. I felt I could convince other doctors that this was the case," says Rob.
Twice the Doctor Foundation's flagship event, Doctor's Day in May, calls on medical practitioners around Australia to "virtually volunteer'" in their workplace for any chosen day in May and donate the day's wages to help deliver healthcare programs to communities in need worldwide. By joining forces, these doctors are utilising their collective power to create a more significant and efficient impact for those in need.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the initiative and a tremendous milestone reached with $1 million raised over the decade for charity organisations, almost half of which has supported UNICEF Australia programs to strengthen health systems across Africa for families and children.
"Raising $1 million is incredible as it represents a huge amount of medical services to those in need."
Helping mothers and newborns in Papua New Guinea
This year for the first time, Twice the Doctor will focus on a program outside of Africa and support UNICEF’s maternal health program in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
PNG is Australia's closest neighbour, with less than four kilometres separating the two countries. However, the health situation for mothers and children couldn't be more different.
With little access to ambulances or health care centres with trained staff and equipment to respond to emergencies, PNG remains one of the deadliest places in the world for pregnant women to give birth.
"I am excited to embark on this new project with UNICEF and the contribution this will make to reducing deaths during childbirth. PNG has an infant mortality rate that is ten times higher than Australia. In Australia, there are about 60 times as many doctors per thousand people compared to PNG."
Supported by UNICEF Australia, the program aims to transform maternal, newborn and child health in two of PNG’s most disadvantaged districts. The funds raised through the Twice the Doctor initiative, will help to:
- Train local health care workers in essential and emergency newborn care
- Ensure health facilities have critical infrastructure including water for hygiene
- Supply power for refrigerated storage of medicines and vaccines
- Provide adequate lighting so health workers don’t have to rely on head torches during newborn deliveries and mothers aren’t giving birth in the dark
“UNICEF Australia relies entirely on donations to help mothers and children most in need,” says Alice Hall, UNICEF Director of International Programs. "It is with the ongoing support of groups like Twice the Doctor Foundation that we are able to make a long-term difference to health services and can provide the support to health workers who go above and beyond for the lives of women and children every day. The funding from Doctor’s Day in May will be truly life-saving and we thank all the doctors who have donated their wages.”
In 2023, Twice the Doctor has reached ten incredible years of helping people around the world, and in the next ten years to come, Rob hopes to see the endeavour expand significantly with many more doctors being involved and contributing to a worthwhile cause.
And to the doctors who have already generously supported, Rob has a few words to say, "Be proud of yourselves and the huge amount of extra medical care you have provided for people worldwide, in addition to your local patients!"
Thank you, Rob and the generous supporters of Twice the Doctor who have made a lasting difference for families and children across the world.
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