The team of volunteers onboard will be working in collaboration with local health workers, Western Provincial Health Authority (WPHA), PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), Australian Aid, and World Vision to assist with the COVID-19 response and to deliver childhood immunisations.
YWAM Medical Ships Australia & Papua New Guinea Managing Director, Ken Mulligan, said he is greatly encouraged to have the ship back in Western Province.
“We’ve had advanced land-based teams out on the field since June. While the teams have achieved some wonderful outcomes, logistics has been a significant challenge.
“The ship provides much needed support in a range of ways - including consistent cold chain, supplies storage, communication, and of course transport too difficult to reach communities.
“The ship will serve as a mother ship as our teams travel to and from the vessel for mobile clinics in villages. It will greatly extend the reach of help to include more remote villages,” he said.
Mulligan said, “We have some ongoing challenges to navigate in light of the pandemic, but we are really hopeful about what can be achieved as we press on together.”
WPHA CEO Dr Niko Wuatai, said he was grateful for YWAM MS’ support.
“I’m so pleased to have the MV YWAM PNG back in our waters, joining our team here.
“Accessibility to our remote communities is one of our biggest challenges. To have the ship’s support with transportation and supplies is a welcomed boost during such a challenging time,” said Dr Wuatai.
Over the past 5 months YWAM MS’ land-based teams have participated in patrols alongside district and church health teams that have administered more than 7,350 routine immunisations for children, and over 1,640 COVID-19 immunisations for adults across more than 60 villages.
YWAM MS is also in the process of establishing a campus in Port Moresby that will serve as a vocational training campus, and a hub for outreach services across the nation. The centre will help YWAM MS expand their work across PNG, including deploying additional teams to remote communities.
The MV YWAM PNG and her team plan to be in Western Province until Christmas for re-stocking in Port Moresby for YWAM’s next deployment in 2022.