The YWAM Medical Ship has travelled to the Western Province of Papua New Guinea to start providing healthcare to remote villages in the region. Mel and Jeziel called Candi Giwojna, the resident ‘Mum’ of the ship to see how the voyage is going so far.
The YWAM Medical Ship is three days into treating people on their 10 month voyage to the remote islands of Papua New Guinea.
They left Australia two weeks ago and have now anchored down in the Fly River. The river is ranked twenty fifth in the world for its volume of water and is the second longest river in Papua New Guinea. The Fly River is 56km across, which is the equivalent of 49 Sydney Harbour Bridges.
Anchoring in the river allows the YWAM medical volunteers access to all of the villages located near the river banks.
“Every day we send out little boats called Zodiacs out with our volunteers and all of the supplies. We go to the little villages on the coast and even walk inland a little bit and bring the clinics there and set clinics up for the day. We go to four different villages a day. And then the boats come back in the evening and then every couple of days we shift further down the river,” said Candi.
Nine hundred people in three days
On the voyage so far the team has provided primary healthcare to over 900 adults. They have also given immunisations to 460 children, in addition to providing dental and optometry care.
The majority of patients are children needing immunisations and people in need of dental care. Out of the 170 dental patients from the first three days they pulled more than 425 teeth. That’s an average of 2-3 teeth per patient.
The most teeth pulled from one patient was eleven in one day.
In one village there were a lot of women who needed the same relatively simply procedure done. The Medical Ship volunteers were able to work with a healthcare worker in the village to teach him how to do the procedure on the women.
“We were able to train him up in how to do this relatively simple procedure and he was able to do a bunch of the procedures that day. He felt confident by the end of it that he would be able to do the procedure to the rest of the women in the village once we had gone,” described Candi.
Right now the team is in the land of the unexpected but we will be chatting with them next week to get the weekly update.
To track where the ship is now check out the ship locator on the YWAM website.
Written by Rebecca Low