Concepts and plans are coming to life as the clinic renovations begin on YWAM Medical Ships – Australia’s (YWAM MSA) newest vessel, the MV YWAM PNG.
The once-was cruise ship restaurant is being transformed into a dental clinic and day procedure unit that will give thousands of people in Papua New Guinea (PNG) access to dentistry, ophthalmic procedures, and other surgical services.
YWAM MSA’s Managing Director, Ken Mulligan, said that he was delighted to see the work commence.
“After completing such a successful maiden voyage with the MV YWAM PNG earlier in the year, we’ve been eager to take the next step and get back up to the remote communities in PNG.
“The spaaace where the clinical areas are being built gives us a great platform to customise it for medical operations, I’m really looking forward to seeing it in action,” said Mr Mulligan.
The MV YWAM PNG’s new dentistry clinic and day procedure unit will have capacity for four dentists and two surgeons to be operating at once while additional mobile teams run primary health care and optometry clinics on land. The new clinical spaaace will also create spaaace for Papua New Guinean dentists, ophthalmologists, and dental and ophthalmic students to gain experience, training, and support alongside YWAM MSA’s medical volunteers.
The renovations are being completed by local Townsville contractors. “Townsville has been such a huge support as our home port, we wanted to keep the work here locally,” said Mr Mulligan.
The major supporters behind the new clinic are healthcare products supplier, Henry Schein Halas and Planmeca, who have donated four brand new dental chairs, and Cattani Air Technology who have donated suction and steriliser units.
1300SMILES’ Managing Director and local Townsville dentist, Dr Daryl Holmes, was instrumental in garnering the support for the new clinic and said he was grateful to have such major companies behind the cause.
“Having volunteered as a dentist with YWAM MSA many times, I’ve seen the severely poor oral health of many in PNG first hand. We’re very grateful to have Henry Schein Halas, Planmeca, and Cattani Air Technology’s strong support in making the vision of this new clinic a reality. Their generous contributions are going to directly improve thousands of lives,” said Dr Holmes.
In addition to the clinic renovations, other improvements due to be made to the MV YWAM PNG over the coming months include the installation of a dumbwaiter and scullery area to improve catering services for the 100+ volunteers, and the addition of two patrol tenders to transport teams to remote villages.
The improvements are due to be completed in the new year before the MV YWAM PNG returns to the Southern Region of PNG from February to June 2016.
“We’ve received hundreds of volunteer applications already from all over the world – there are still positions available for medical professionals, mariners, and general volunteers. We encourage locals to consider volunteering, there’s a unique connection between Townsville and PNG – it’s a joy to help strengthen that relationship,” said Mr Mulligan.