The YWAM Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG, returned to her home port, Townsville, this morning after a successful five month deployment to Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The MV YWAM PNG and her volunteers visited 134 villages throughout the Gulf, Western, Central, Milne Bay, Oro and Morobe Provinces. Over 27,000 patients received healthcare and training over five months, valued at over $3 million.
Over 80 healthcare, marine and general volunteers joined the MV YWAM PNG from Townsville.
YWAM Medical Ships Managing Director, Mr Ken Mulligan said that the voyage represented the debut of the MV YWAM PNG’s brand-new dentistry clinic, day procedure unit and laboratory which was completed by Townsville contractors in January this year.
“It was a very special voyage – the new onboard clinics increased our capacity significantly. In the last two weeks alone, our ophthalmology team completed 132 sight-restoring surgeries in our onboard clinic.
“One of the recipients was a boy named Bray, at 17 years-old, he was blind from cataracts. He dropped out of school in grade three, was led around the village, and was heavily dependent on his family.
“After a 40 minute surgery, performed by Townsville surgeon, Dr Bill Talbot, Bray’s sight was restored!
“Bray is now independent and is planning on returning to school. It’s a beautiful story of hope fulfilled, and one of many from the last five months,” said Mr Mulligan.
Other field activities delivered over the last five months include over 21,000 immunisations, 4,000 dentistry procedures and professional development services delivered to 141 local health workers.
YWAM Medical Ships Patron for Australia, Honourable Mike Reynolds, said that the successful voyage completed by the MV YWAM PNG should be something Townsville is very proud of.
“YWAM Medical Ships’ operations in Papua New Guinea is incredibly unique. Essential healthcare and training services are being delivered to people right in their village – places where there are no roads and very limited infrastructure.
“The ship’s work in Papua New Guinea is impacting thousands of lives, and it’s based right here in Townsville.
“We are grateful to the Townsville community for the support that has been extended to us over the years to make this a reality.
“It is wonderful to be returning to our home port today after our biggest outreach to date, we look forward to celebrating with our many supporters over the coming weeks,” said Mr Reynolds.
The MV YWAM PNG will be docked in Townsville until October. During that time the vessel will undergo further maintenance and renovations before returning to PNG in October for an 8-month deployment.
Once all renovations are complete, the MV YWAM PNG will be positioned to operate 11 months of the year, serving an estimated 188,000 people per annum.
Townsville supporters of YWAM Medical Ships include Port of Townsville, 1300SMILES, Honeycombes Property Group, Puma Energy, Parkside Development Group, Network Communications, Townsville Bulletin, Townsville City Council, Medical Dental Solutions, Coutts Reddington, Pacific Marine Group, Universal Cranes, Rosshaven Marine, NQ Cowboys, and Food Relief NQ.