Final year medical students from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) have once again joined a rural outreach patrol aboard the YWAM Training and Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG. The most recent group have just returned from serving in Western Province and will now embark on a patrol in Milne Bay waters.
The program is a partnership between UPNG and YWAM Medical Ships to provide medical students with rural health exposure and training opportunities.
Executive Program Manager, Dr Sarah Dunn, spoke of YWAM’s enthusiasm for the collaboration.
“This is part of YWAM Medical Ships’ strategy to provide a platform for young Papua New Guineans to develop and apply their skills as they explore and serve this beautiful nation. It fits directly into our broader vision to building capacity here in PNG,” said Dr Dunn.
The students joined in with over 100 volunteers from 11 nations to visit remote communities. A total of 20 villages were engaged during the patrol.
They expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to broaden their experience, including seeing conditions that they had previously only read about in textbooks. Student, Lydia Dorum, shared her perspective after 2 weeks in Western Province:
“Before I came, my thinking was quite limited to everything I learned in the Port Moresby context. Coming here, I’ve seen how rural people live and how their lifestyle and environment can lead to disease. It has helped me expand my knowledge of public health and medicine in rural places.”
“Also working with a team like this is a new experience. I’ve learned communication skills and how to work with different people,” said Ms Dorum.
The development of teamwork skills within the rural healthcare context is a focus of this program.
“Seeing these young student-doctors engaging with rural communities and working in team with professional colleagues from all round the world is deeply inspiring. PNG certainly has some fine young people training in the health professions,” said Dr Dunn.
The student’s journey will continue with MV YWAM PNG due to commence her next outreach in Milne Bay later this week.
Other major supporters of YWAM Medical Ships work in PNG include the PNG National Government, Puma Energy, Steamships Trading Company, PNG Ports Corp, Australian Aid, Manolos Aviation, Morobe, Oro, Milne Bay, Central, Gulf, Western, East Sepik, Madang and West New Britain Provincial Governments, Sohe and Kiriwina-Goodenough District Development Authorities, National Fisheries Authority, Henry Schein Halas, Network Communications, Samaritan Aviation, Fred Hollow’s Foundation and Pro-Ma Systems.