Over 3,100 patients and their health workers received vital healthcare and training in Sohe and Ijivitari Districts over the last two weeks thanks to a collaborative patrol between Oro Provincial Government and YWAM Medical Ships.
The YWAM Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG, served as the home-base for the patrol. Teams were deployed via small boats from the vessel to 24 villages located along the coast and extensively inland up the Gira, Mumba, Foru and Yupuru rivers.
Oro Provincial Government Assembly Member, Mr Herbert Isemba, said that the team identified a high amount of yaws (a chronic bacterial infection), and malaria cases in the rural villages visited.
“The patrol was crucial for providing treatment and education to the patients that were identified.
“To have the combined manpower of health workers from Oro Provincial Health, Popendetta Hospital, and YWAM volunteers from all over the world added great strength to the work that was achieved on the ground – it continues to be a great partnership,” said Mr Isemba.
Among the thousands of patients that were seen included a 14 year-old girl, Rose*, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB).
YWAM Medical Ships Clinic Manager, Ms Melissa Kauk, said that Rose was tested for TB by an Oro Provincial Lab technician in the MV YWAM PNG’s onboard laboratory.
“Rose had lost a sister just a few months ago from suspected TB. Thanks to the lab onboard, Rose has a fighting chance of a different outcome. A diagnosis was provided within 24 hours, treatment was arranged, and she has been connected with a TB treatment supporter.
“We were so thankful to be able to provide this service right on her doorstep,” said Ms Kauk.
In addition to the primary health care and diagnostic services provided over the last two weeks, the team also provided dentistry, health education, eye care, and collegial support and mentoring for local health workers.
The patrol was the seventh outreach the Oro Provincial Government and YWAM Medical Ships have completed together.
The MV YWAM PNG arrived in Alotau on Tuesday night in preparation for a patrol to Woodlark and Goodenough Islands, Milne Bay Province.