New technology has arrived which will give Papua New Guineans in rural and remote parts of the country access to basic dentistry and optometry services.
YWAM Medical Ships – Australia (YWAM MSA), based in Townsville, Australia are bringing the I-See and I-Dent technology to the region and plan to roll out training packages and delivery of the kits in 2013 alongside their ship-based health, training and community development clinics.
Anna Scott, of YWAM MSA, who helped coordinate the ship-based outreaches earlier this year in the Gulf Province, said that the units were developed by an organisation called I-TEC, which stands for Indigenous Technology and Education Center. The idea behind the units is to create technologies that are portable, lightweight, and can be utilised with basic training of dentistry and optometry work, empowering locals to take responsibility for their own health and equipping them with the basic resources to do this.
“We identified several villages with strong leadership capacity this year who are interested in receiving training and putting the units to work,” Ms Scott said. “I’m really looking forward to returning in May to start rolling out the program.”
Hannah Peart, a Registered Nurse and YWAM MSA’s Medical Coordinator, has been serving in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the past four years.
“I am so excited about this project,” Ms Peart said. “This is going to be one of the best new ways we can increase capacity for our friends on the ground in rural and remote Papua New Guinea. Really, this is a dream come true to me. There are so many access challenges in the Gulf and Western Province, but the people there are so capable and wonderful. I’m really looking forward to doing something there for our friends and co-workers in the villages that will take them to a whole new level in rural health care.”
Ms Peart also said that I-See and I-Dent kits are not the final answer to health in these areas, but would be a huge help in overcoming some of the isolation issues. She says it is a very important step in YWAM MSA’s long-term vision to work collaboratively and respectfully to see major sustainable health improvement in PNG while simultaneously strengthening relationships between Australia and PNG.
YWAM MSA has been bringing ship and land based medical, training and community development teams to PNG since 2010, when they acquired their current medical ship, the MV Pacific Link. In that time, 106,384 training, health and community development outputs have been delivered, with support from the following key stakeholders PNG Department of Health, Steamships, Curtain Bros, InterOil, the Gulf Provincial Government, Sustainable Development Fund, and the Ok Tedi Fly River Development Fund.