University of Newcastle research doctorate student, Namira Williams, has won the prestigious Australian College of Midwives 2013 NSW Midwife of the Year. Beginning her PhD thesis with UoN last August, Namira is focusing on improving care for women with an intellectual disability during and after pregnancy.

Namira was recognised by her peers for her contribution to the profession of midwifery and her more than 25 years work in improving services for Aboriginal women, rural and remote families and women with disabilities.

University of Newcastle’s Pro-Vice Chancellor of Health, Professor Nicholas Talley, congratulated Namira on her achievement, stating that the research student set a fine example for the upcoming graduates of the University’s new Bachelor of Midwifery programme.

“We congratulate Namira not only on receiving this prestigious award, but on a lengthy and worthwhile career that has helped thousands of families.”

Namira said working with women and their partners in the transition to becoming parents is her favourite part of the job. She plans to use her thesis to implement further programs to help women.

“I’m glad I have the opportunity to help parents get off to a good start. It leads to stronger families and a better society in general,” Namira said.

“Becoming a new parent is hard enough, but even more so for women with intellectual disabilities,” she said.

“Approximately 40 to 60 per cent of women with learning disabilities will have their children removed from their care. This is generally due to the women not being educated or informed about what is required of them when they become a Mum.

“We need to be doing more, so I’m really looking forward to developing programs from my thesis to help these women during pregnancy.”

Namira, who lives in Forster, has worked across Australia and Papua New Guinea and is currently working as a clinical midwife specialist at Manning Rural Referral Hospital in Taree.

Namira will be formally awarded at the Australian College of Midwives NSW branch’s conference in August.

Midwife of the Year, Great Lakes Advocate