After suffering through five years of tooth ache, he visited the dental team onboard YWAM’s Medical Ship the MV Pacific Link. The volunteer dentist performed a tooth extraction and filling for Philemon, removing the source of pain.
“He was so grateful,” says nurse Christina Peterson, the current dental coordinator on board.
Philemon’s story is not uncommon in PNG. In one day, the dental team helped 31 patients, performing procedures that normally people have very limited access to. Latest statistics show that there is just one dentist for every 100,000 people.
“During our clinics this week, 63% of children aged 7 had decayed teeth and 95% of adults had one or more decayed teeth,” says YWAM volunteer dental surgeon Dr. Barry Reed.
“Tooth pain is one of the most debilitating pains that a person can suffer. One third of adults seen expressed that they were currently in pain,” says Dr. Reed.
Transport is one of the biggest challenges faced by remote communities in PNG when they try to access healthcare. Roads are often impassable and many cannot afford to travel by boat or airplane. Christina (pictured) traveled five hours by boat to visit YWAM’s dental clinic.
The MV Pacific Link is about to embark on its final outreach before it is replaced by the MV Ammari in 2015.
The MV Ammari will able to operate for 11 months of the year in six provinces – helping to improve accessibility to dentistry services and training to thousands more Papua New Guineans on an annual basis.
The PNG government has contributed $1.5 million AUD towards the purchase price of the new vessel, a further $5 million is left to raise. To donate, visit https://www.ywamships.org.au/payments/