YWAM’s Training and Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG, has just completed a successful year of outreach in remote areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in collaboration with local health authorities.
The 60 metre long vessel and her team of volunteers have helped restore sight to the blind, relieved toothaches, delivered babies, and built capacity in Papua New Guinea’s rural health workforce.
Over 800 healthcare professionals, mariners, and general volunteers from 41 different countries volunteered aboard the vessel throughout the year, including over 200 from her home-port of Townsville and 250 from Papua New Guinea.
YWAM Medical Ships Australia & Papua New Guinea’s (YWAM MS) Managing Director, Mr. Ken Mulligan, said it had been a wonderful year with many stories of lives touched.
“A special highlight was reconnecting with one of our patients from three years ago, Mandy. Mandy was six years old when we met her in 2016, she had been blind for two years from bilateral cataracts and was heavily dependent on her family for her everyday needs. After a successful cataract surgery onboard the ship, Mandy’s sight was restored!
“Three years on – we were overjoyed to see Mandy thriving. Her sight has continued to improve since her surgery, and as a result, she has enrolled in school and is enjoying life as a nine year old should be.
“It was very touching to see a glimpse of the profound impact the ship’s visit to her remote island had made on her life,” said Mr Mulligan.
YWAM MS’ work is centred upon strengthening the local health system by building capacity in local health workers, delivering drug supplies, increasing healthcare delivery to rural communities, and assisting with health facility maintenance and upgrades.
YWAM MS’ Australian Patron, Honourable Mike Reynolds, said that the MV YWAM PNG continues to play a significant role in strengthening the relationship between Townsville and Papua New Guinea.
“We should be very proud that a Townsville-based ship is reaching some of PNG’s most remote and vulnerable communities with essential healthcare and training.
“Townsville doctors, nurses, general volunteers, and JCU students are serving these communities together with PNG’s local health workers.
“The combination of resources, knowledge, and strengths, united together around a shared vision has helped achieve a wonderful result; over 390,000 healthcare and training services have been delivered to 277 remote communities this year,” said Mr Reynolds.
The MV YWAM PNG and her crew will spend the Christmas break in Lae, PNG before resuming outreaches in January. Healthcare professionals, mariners, and general volunteers are invited to volunteer aboard the MV YWAM PNG in 2020. Each outreach is 1-3 weeks in length. For more information or to apply, visit https://ywamships.org/medical-ship/volunteer/