Over the past three years of Medical Ship outreaches, many lives have been undeniably improved by the simple gift of glasses. Now in the fourth year of outreaches, the Ship has been equipped with a tool that not only adds to the number of people who can receive glasses, but can multiply the effort to restore sight in Papua New Guinea (PNG)!
Within PNG’s population of close to seven million, there are just seven functioning eye clinics. The majority of these lack sufficient stocks of surgery supplies or prescription glasses. There are no eye clinics in the Gulf Province, where the Ship focuses half of it’s outreaches each year.
The Baimuru District of the Gulf Province is ripe for change; two community health workers from Kapuna Hospital, Amoko and Mailau, are ready and willing to do something about the problems surrounding eyesight in the region. The I-See kit is an innovation developed by I-TEC (Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Center) that can train PNG locals with the skills needed to identify and treat common eyesight problems. The kit includes 400 pairs of glasses, two lense ladders, eye charts, a repair kit, and non verbal training tools to equip locals to fit glasses.
Amoko and Mailau went through a training session with optometry clinic leader Ben Bishop, they then worked alongside YWAM MSA’s optometry team; providing optical services to three villages throughout the Baimaru District.
After working with the team for one week, Amoko and Mailau were given an I-See kit so that they could continue to provide optical services at Kapuna hospital and alongside the hospital patrol teams.
‘I see my people with their eye problems and I want to help them live better. Passing on training to us has been good because we can carry on helping them when you have gone and even get to places the Ship cannot get to’, Mailau said.
YWAM Medical Ships – Australia will be continuing to train refraction workers throughout PNG over the coming year. To donate toward an I-See kit, please visit www.ywamships.org/donate.
 Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) “PNG – Poor eye care worsens rural suffering” (October 2012).