Locals in Oro Province gathered in Oro Bay today as they welcomed in YWAM Medical Ships – Australia’s (YWAM MSA) Medical Ship, the MV Pacific Link, into Oro Province for the first time today for a two-week pilot outreach in preparation for YWAM MSA’s expansion into the province with its new ship, the MV Ammari.
The welcome ceremony, hosted by the Oro Provincial Government, was attended by 500 locals and 48 YWAM MSA volunteers and featured a warm welcome with local dances, local food and speeches from Provincial Government and Provincial Health.
The two-week outreach will include primary health care, dentistry optometry clinics and capacity building initiatives for local health workers in Oro Bay, Tufi and surrounding communities, working in collaboration with local health providers.
PNG Outreach Manager, Hannah Peart, said that there was much celebration today as the ship sailed into the Province for the first time.
“We have been sending land-based primary health care teams into Oro Province for the past two years to assess the needs and build relationships with local health providers, the Provincial Government and village leaders.”
“The Pacific Link’s visit to Oro for the next two weeks gives us greater opportunity to develop these partnerships as we continue to form our strategy for expanding our work in this region.”
YWAM MSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Oro Provincial Government earlier this year to work in collaboration to deliver critical health and training services in Oro Province.
“The important work undertaken by YWAM MSA compliments and strengthens the development priorities of PNG.” Said Oro Provincial Governor, Honourable Gary Juffa.
This year marks the last time the MV Pacific Link is planned to be in PNG, as the vessel will be retired at the end of 2014 all going well.
All the while, the organisation is in critical discussions with a range of stakeholders to finalise the purchase of the MV Ammari, a modern and much improved Training and Medical Ship that will serve year-round in PNG waters, including Oro Province.
YWAM MSA’s visit to Oro Province was helped made possible by the PNG Department of Health, the Oro Provincial Government, InterOil, Steamships Trading Company and the PNG Ports Corporation.
The Department of National Planning have also contributed 4 million PGK toward the deposit on the new vessel, late last year. A buyer has yet to be found for the MV Pacific Link after its retirement