YWAM Medical Ships – Australia have entered into a contract for a new ship the M/V Ipipiri out of the Bay of Islands in New Zealand.
The vessel would replace the 34 year old M/V Pacific Link which has been utilised over the past four years to deliver 167,839 medical, training and community development outputs in some of Papua New Guinea’s most remote areas.
The new vessel would help YWAM MSA in its long term Memorandum of Understanding with the PNG National Department of Health to help achieve health outcomes in PNG such as reducing the 1 in 7 maternal mortality rate, and has support from key stakeholders on all levels in PNG and Australia.
Ken Mulligan, Managing Director for YWAM MSA said “The organisation has been doing extensive research over the past four years on what community development, training and medical services are needed in PNG.”
“Our current vessel is beyond its optimal lifespan. We are looking to retire it in 2015. The M/V Ipipiri came recommended by our naval advisory team and our early research shows we could be achieving five times as many outputs each year,” said Mr Mulligan.
“We work in some of the world’s most in need places due to the isolation, and the people there are eager to work with us. The ship model operates as a catalyst for hope and change and by partnering with locals, we are already starting to see the long term effects of these medical and training patrols.”
Some of the strengths of the M/V Ipipiri are its shallow draft, ability to board up to 80 people, and its capacity to operate as a Mother Ship, sending smaller launches further up PNG’s vast expanse of narrow river ways to reach more villagers.
The Honourable Charles Abel, Minister for Planning and Development just last week contributed significantly to the purchase price of the vessel by presenting a cheque for 4 million PNG Kina.
“We have been so pleased with the way YWAM MSA have been able to use their current Medical Ship to overcome isolation in the Gulf and Western Provinces. We see that this is a very good strategy for developing health systems in our nation. We want to maximize this opportunity for partnership by helping to provide the resources to expand these services for our people.”
Minister Abel said, “All of YWAM MSA’s staff are full time volunteers, so the funding goes directly toward helping Papua New Guineans who need it most. Its very good value for money.”
Mr Mulligan said, “We have very strong support from governments, corporations, businesses, and the community at large with some very promising leads to finalise the purchase of the Ipipiri.”