YWAM Medical Ships – Australia (YWAM MSA) have just returned from their first outreach to the Western Province for
2013. Sailing on board was their 28th Papua New Guinean volunteer so far this year.
PNG Doctor, Thomas Kiele, had finished his residency just days prior to joining the ship’s outreach. His fellow university graduates and friends, Nerida and Elsie, had been on outreach earlier in the year, and gave him a call to suggest going.
Now on the other side of outreach, Thomas reflects, “With this experience I know firsthand the amount of health care there is, and the amount of people that receive it. There are a lot of provinces that face these problems; the Western Province being one of the worst. Accessibility is a big issue here. It’s terrible what they go through, what they have to face.”
In the five villages the ship anchored outside of in the two-week period, Thomas was involved in several critical situations, including treatment of a six-week old baby with severe respiratory problems. “He was in such a bad way we all knew we had to act quickly to at least give him a fighting chance,” Thomas said.
A man from a different village was brought to the clinic to be seen after suffering serious burns over much of his body. Thomas and the health care team were able to dress his wounds and show the local health care worker the care the man would need after the team had gone.
Later, Thomas added, “My ambition in becoming a doctor… is a heart to help people. For me I thought this was probably the best way I could achieve that. It doesn’t matter if I take all the training I have just to save one life; it would be all worth it.”
YWAM MSA has been conducting outreaches for the past four years aiming to address the lack of accessibility to health care found in these areas. It continues with its partners, the PNG National Department of Health, Western Provincial Government, Gulf Provincial Government, Steamships Trading Company, InterOil, PNG Ports Corporation, Rotarians Against Malaria, local doctors, nurses, dentists, community health workers, and volunteers to bring hope through health services and training that can increase quality of life to these areas.