Christmas Island doctors’ concern

[Editor’s note: Please find the long a detailed letter published in the Guardian together with the comments by Pamela Curr, a trained nurse and midwife. Read closely about ‘pregnant women being sent offshore to Nauru and lest we forget that three of the six pregnant women sent to Manus lost their babies- a 50% miscarriage rate- unheard of in Australia.’ ]

Fifteen doctors employed by International Health and Management Services on Christmas Island list their concerns about standards of medical care and practices at the island’s detention centres
[names and case studies have been redacted] see

Please read 25 – 28 carefully. The war on pregnant women initiated by this government is revealed.

The reasons why Asylum seeker women are losing their babies needs explanation.

The Department will not release the stats on the number of women in detention who are either miscarrying their babes, giving birth to dead babies or having babies die within weeks with no explanation.

They say that these are not centrally collected- a good way to ensure no one knows what is happening.

Every mother and every baby is precious and is entitled to the best care we can give.

This is being denied to asylum seeker women.

They are being routinely separated from husbands and children and sent away for delivery.

Some are calling these “6 CHARTER PREGNANCIES” as the women are flown back and forth from Christmas Island for the essential tests which cannot be done on CI.

Some pregnant women are being sent offshore to Nauru and lest we forget that three of the six pregnant women sent to Manus lost their babies- a 50% miscarriage rate- unheard of in Australia.

A young woman on Christmas island recently lost her baby. She was not taken to the CI hospital.

She lay on her bed in the camp, bleeding for 4 days and told- “that’s normal, many women lose their babies”.

She was NOT given a D&C which is best practice following a miscarriage to ensure that future pregnancies are not compromised.

Women are given vaccinations and told not to get pregnant for 2 months but given no contraception.

Women who tell staff that they are pregnant are disregarded and given the vaccinations which are contra-indicated for pregnant women.

Some women are vaccinated up to 17 times- why? what with? why are they not told what they are being given? why are they refused a record of the vaccinations? are they being double dosed? why are most people given only 5 vaccinations. There are so many questions about the medical care of asylum seekers.

These brave doctors are to be honored for having the guts to speak out in the climate of silence and threat which surrounds detention centres.

Now it is up to us to demand that our government ceases to hide behind a veil of silence while punishing and persecuting pregnant women and all asylum seekers.

If Australians agree to let the government shrug this tragedy off as “just what they deserve” we will stand guilty of gross human rights violations and be condemned by future generations.

Pamela Curr
Refugee Rights Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
12 Batman St West Melbourne 3003
ph 03 9326 6066 / MOB 0417517075

“AUSTRALIA. Built by boatpeople.”

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