Home | News | In air and in care: midwife, pilot talks juggling careers, working in Tanzania
Jan Becker (left) at Amana Hospital in Tanzania. Photo: Supplied

In air and in care: midwife, pilot talks juggling careers, working in Tanzania

When Captain Jan Becker’s not delivering babies here in Australia or in Tanzania, she’s piloting one of her company’s 18 Bell 206 turbine helicopters.

Becker, a registered nurse and midwife, runs the largest helicopter flight academy in the Southern Hemisphere. She founded Becker Helicopters with her husband, Mike, in 1996 and has received a number of awards for her business leadership, including the Telstra Business Women’s Queensland Business Owner Award, the Telstra Australian Medium Business Award, and the Queensland Premier’s Innovation Export Award.

Despite her success in the business world, Becker never hung up her scrubs, still working as a midwife locally and volunteering at Amana Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. As part of her work in Tanzania, Becker founded non-profit organisation Midwife Vision to provide education and support to midwives in some of the most under-resourced areas of the world.

Becker with local midwives in Tanzania.

For her efforts in the realms of business and health, The University of the Sunshine Coast named Becker as its Outstanding Alumnus for 2017.

Becker said the recognition helps put the midwives of Tanzania on the map. “It’s saying that we see you and the work you’re doing – and to be a small part of that is magic.”

Tanzania has the worst statistics for neonatal baby and mother survival in the world, she said. “The work is raw and it’s real and it’s happening on the same planet that we live on here.”

Nursing Review spoke with Becker about the work Tanzanian midwives do, the similarities between piloting a helicopter and working in healthcare and her advice for health professionals interested in the business sector.

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