The Department of National Planning and Monitoring today announced K4.0million would be going toward securing a new Servicing, Training and Medical Ship for Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The announcement comes just after the Townsville-based YWAM Medical Ships – Australia (YWAM MSA) finishes its fourth year of outreaches in Papua New Guinea. Since 2010, YWAM MSA have delivered 167,839 health, training and community services in the Gulf and Western Provinces, in collaboration with Provincial Health Authorities, and community leaders in each village.
The current vessel, MV Pacific Link, will retire in 2015 and the funding will provide a deposit and start up costs to secure a new Servicing, Training and Medical Ship.
The Honourable Charles Abel, Minister for Planning and Rural Development said, “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.”
The new ship – with the support of the National Government – would mean that YWAM MSA can extend its services immediately to the 1.3 million people in the Southern Region of PNG.
The Western, Gulf, Central, Milne Bay and Oro Provincial Governors along with the NCD Governor have invited YWAM MSA to engage across the Southern Region and YWAM MSA has already begun sending land based teams to these areas to assess the need, collaborate with key stakeholders, and determine the best way to utilise the Servicing, Training and Medical Ship resources.
The new ship would accommodate more people on board, have a higher capacity to offer training to PNG medical and dental students, and operate with a “mother ship” strategy, allowing smaller launches to visit several villages at once for basic community development and primary health care needs.
Ken Mulligan, YWAM MSA’s Managing Director said, “We are very grateful to work with the Department of National Planning and Monitoring on this. Our team is very, very committed to PNG and we need a new vessel to continue and expand our work. For the National Government to make this a priority is a very good outcome for PNG.
“Partnerships are key in everything we do and we are grateful for the Western and Gulf Provincial Governments, InterOil, Steamships, Ok Tedi, PNG SDP, and Curtain Brothers who have made it possible.”
YWAM MSA’s strategy includes the vision for multiple Servicing, Training and Medical Ships to service all of the coastal regions of PNG. YWAM’s plans also include the development of a training facility to equip community health and development workers in rural and remote places.