Strategic Partnerships Work to Restore Sight | YWAM Ships

Strategic Partnerships Work to Restore Sight

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Sight is being restored and professional skills strengthened in Port Moresby this week as YWAM Medical Ships and Port Moresby General Hospital ophthalmology (eye surgery) teams collaborate to serve patients with serious eye disease.

A team of volunteer doctors and nurses from YWAM Medical Ships is partnering with the ophthalmology unit at Port Moresby General Hospital as part of a growing relationship between the two organisations.

Local Ophthalmologist and Chair of the PNG National Prevention of Blindness Committee, Dr. Jambi Garap said the partnership has been beneficial on multiple levels.

“I am really proud of the effort of our team day in day out here at PMGH. Having this partnership with YWAM adds another level of support. We are really enjoying working together – it’s particularly beneficial to our young doctors.”

Midway through the week, the combined PMGH and YWAM teams had already provided 19 seriously vision-impaired patients with sight-restoring cataract surgery including 18-year old patient, Siosi who had cataracts as a result of diabetes.

“Siosi has not been able to attend school and is now looking forward to going back – he had big smiles today!” said YWAM MSA’s Community Development Manager, Dr. Sarah Dunn.

Since 2010, the YWAM team have been performing eye surgeries at rural locations in Gulf and Western, supported by their Training and Medical Ship.  But this National Health Week they are particularly focused on collaborating with PNG health professionals in the nation’s capital.

“It is a privilege to be partnering with these very committed Papua New Guinean eye specialists.  There is a real strength in collaboration and peer support and we are seeing the fruit of that even in these first few days of operating side by side,” said Dr. Dunn.

YWAM Medical Ships won an international Excellence in Ophthalmology Innovation Award (XOVA) in 2013 and prize funds have been used to purchase special microscope equipment that allows colleagues to observe a surgeon at work, to better learn or provide close peer support.

The new equipment is a big step toward assisting with training opportunities.  Dr. Dunn also acknowledged that YWAM is very fortunate to have supportive donors such as Alcon that help provide many of the articles needed for surgery.

“Along with our committed professional volunteers, this means a life-changing but expensive surgery becomes possible.”

This week’s project marks a significant extension to YWAM Medical Ships work in Papua New Guinea in the area of eye health; however, the organisation’s proposed new Training and Medical Ship, MV Ammari, will increase these opportunities many times over.

The Overcoming the Impossible fundraising campaign is in full swing to raise the 11.4 million PGK required by 4 December 2014 to secure purchase of this new Ship.

YWAM acknowledges its gratitude for the ongoing support of the PNG Department of Health, the National Capital District, Western, Gulf, Oro, Milne Bay, and Central Provincial Governments, InterOil, Steamships Trading Company, PNG Ports Corporation and Curtain Bros.  It also acknowledges the Department of National Planning for 4 million PGK contributed toward the deposit on the new vessel, late last year.


 For further information or to arrange photos or interviews, please contact Megan Brough on 7152 5072 or

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