YWAM’s Medical Ships, the MV YWAM PNG and the MV Pacific Link, are half way through a successful outreach season in the Southern region and Madang Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Since January, the MV YWAM PNG (60 metre long catamaran) and the MV Pacific Link (37 metre long Japanese fishing vessel) have treated over 19,000 patients in over 102 villages. Field activities have included 14,569 immunisations, 2,550 dental procedures, 48 eye surgeries and 61 local healthcare workers up-skilled.
YWAM Medical Ships Managing Director, Mr Ken Mulligan, said that it was wonderful to have two vessels serving at once in PNG.
“I’m really thrilled with the success of the last four months, thousands of people in remote areas have been directly impacted. It has given us an excellent picture of what could be as we progress toward the vision of having at least three large ships operating around the coastal and island regions of PNG.
“The MV Pacific Link is serving as a forerunner toward that next phase; our goal is to replace her with a much larger vessel within the next few years, before we work toward acquiring another vessel to serve in the PNG Islands region,” said Mr Mulligan.
To date, over 400 volunteers from 16 nations have served aboard the YWAM vessels, including over 90 Papua New Guineans.
“The outreaches really have been a collaborative effort, in addition to the hundreds of volunteers that have joined us from around the world, provincial health officers, local health workers and Papua New Guinean medical students and marine cadets have joined us for the outreaches.
“The operations of this vessel are funded by families, individuals, corporates and government. For the ships to operate it is contingent on expanding it’s funding base – every dollar invested gives maximum return because of the volunteers. All of our staff are volunteers including myself as Managing Director,” said Mr Mulligan.
YWAM Medical Ships Director, Mr Brett Curtis, said the MV Pacific Link arrived at Karkar Island, Madang Province, over the weekend where her team will perform cataract and pterygium surgeries in the vessel’s onboard clinic in collaboration with Fred Hollows Foundation.
“During our last voyage to Karkar Island, 143 candidates for surgery were identified by our optometry team, we are really pleased to be returning to Karkar with a Fred Hollows’ ophthalmology team onboard.
“This upcoming patrol is a classic example of the good outcomes that can be achieved when organisations work together – its wonderful to be united around the goal to restore sight,” said Mr Curtis.
While the MV Pacific Link serves in Karkar Island, the MV YWAM PNG will sail to Goodenough Bay and Woodlark Island, Milne Bay Province to deliver primary health care, dentistry, optometry and health education.
Both the MV YWAM PNG and the MV Pacific Link will serve in PNG until the end of June before undergoing further maintenance and renovations.
Supporters of YWAM Medical Ships include the PNG National Government, Australian Aid, Puma Energy, Steamships Trading Company, InterOil, Western, Gulf, Central, Milne Bay, Oro, Morobe and Madang Provincial Governments, PNG Ports Corporation, Rotarians Against Malaria, Niugini Heliworks and Pro-Ma Systems.