After much preparation and consultation with key stakeholders, YWAM Medical Ships – Australia & Papua New Guinea (YWAM MS) began operating the YWAM Dental Semi Trailer in Port Moresby this week, starting with a pilot program at Sevese Morea Elementary and Primary School.
Over 130 students underwent oral health screening, and more than 400 students received oral health education. Students who required further attention received treatment inside the dental trailer at the school. Over 230 dental procedures, including restorations and extractions, were provided.
Twenty-two volunteers participated in this pilot program, including two dentists, one dental therapist and four dental assistants from both Australia and PNG.
YWAM MS has been conducting mobile dental clinics in PNG for over ten years via the medical ship and land-based teams, with the majority of services being offered in rural and remote villages. During this time, nearly 44,000 dental treatments have been provided in collaboration with Provincial Health Authorities, local dentists and health workers.
In 2019 YWAM MS acquired a mobile dental semi trailer to expand the current work to the National Capital District. Key stakeholders, including National Capital District Governor, Honourable Powes Parkop, NCD PHA and UPNG endorsed the dental trailer’s arrival into Port Moresby in March 2022.
“Dental services are a significant need in NCD,” says Dr Steven Yennie, CEO for NCD PHA. “This Dental Trailer program aligns with our current plan to expand these services, and we look forward to working with YWAM to maximise the benefit of the program to the communities in NCD.”
YWAM MS volunteer and Sevese Morea Primary School alumni, Ms Venau Aiga, said that it was a joy to be starting work with the YWAM Dental Trailer in her community.
“We’ve seen several children this week who have been in pain for years. One little boy had so much infection in his jaw that he could barely open his mouth.
“It has been special for me to not only see children receive the care they need, but also education that is going to help them take care of their teeth for the rest of their lives. It has been eye opening for me to see the need in a greater way in our community. We look forward to going to more schools in 2023,” says Venau Aiga, YWAM MS volunteer from Vabukori.
The YWAM Dental Trailer’s arrival and pilot program have been supported by a range of companies, including Henry Schein, Ok Tedi Mining, Agility Logistics, Sir Brian Bell Foundation, Mills Dental Care and Ela Motors.