The last week of the MV YWAM PNG’s deployment to Oro Province was a special week for Vinoria Anjiga, the ship’s volunteer dental therapist from Popondetta Hospital.
She was able to go ashore to her mother’s village, Foru, Sohe District, and have a land dental clinic for a day. Located up a remote river, Foru inhabitants have limited access to healthcare services, so Ms Anjiga’s time there was precious. “YWAM has made it possible for me to provide dental service for my people in this village,” said Ms Anjiga, “it is very special.”
Ms Anjiga is no stranger to outdoor land dental clinics, as she frequently goes on Oro Provincial Health patrols that trek to remote villages across the province. However, her clinic setup in Foru was unique because she used YWAM’s I-DENT portable dental chair for the day.
The I-DENT chair folds into a backpack that is ideal for rugged patrols. It only weighs 15 kilograms and can be set up in less than a minute. It is uncommon in Papua New Guinea; to Ms Anjiga’s knowledge, her fellow YWAM volunteer dentist, Harold, owns the only other I-DENT chair in Oro Province.
As a result, when she went on patrols, Ms Anjiga had her patients sit on a regular chair while an assistant cradled their head. The cumbersome position strained her back and increased the risk of patient movement.
Thanks to the partnership of generous donors, YWAM was able to give Ms Anjiga a portable dental chair and more dental tools at the end of the Oro deployment. When Lauren Myers, the dental clinic manager, told Ms Anjiga the news, Ms Anjiga was speechless. Tears slid down her face as she accepted the chair.
Speaking about the donation afterwards, Ms Anjiga said, “I’m really excited — the hospital and the rural health in the province will be really happy about receiving such a dental chair…With that chair, I’d like to come back again to my village, Foru, and do the land dental there, and then later, I can use it [on patrol].”
In a country that has one dentist for every 100,000 people, Ms Anjiga’s dental services are critical, and it is YWAM’s hope that the I-DENT chair will aid her efforts to care for the rural majority. As the ship sails for its next outreach in Milne Bay, Ms Anjiga returns to Popondetta Hospital, excited for the future.