Creating a healthier Papua New Guinea

Posted on 7th May 2019

children from papua New Guinea

YWAM Medical Ships Australia & Papua New Guinea 

Volunteering with YWAM Medical Ships is a unique experience, making an impact by helping to create a healthy Papua New Guinea in collaboration with national, provincial and district health authorities through a holistic approach.

Dr Daniel Sundaresan is about to do his third outreach with YWAM Medical Ships and says the volunteers make a huge difference on these outreaches.

“On the medical ship, MV YWAM PNG, we have a dental clinic, which has four chairs – we also have other health professionals including physios, pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and a lot of support crew – and all of these people are volunteers,” he says. “The ship is focused on going into areas where there is often limited access to care,” he adds. “The nearest hospital might be a five-hour canoe ride away for some places. Often times we are treating patients who have never seen a dentist in their lives.”

YWAM MS spends approximately 10 months of the year in Papua New Guinea. Each outreach, which is about 2 weeks in duration, includes an impressive 120 to 130 volunteers; 25 per cent of whom are from PNG. The team help deliver a range of healthcare services, including maternal health services, immunisations, dental procedures, eye care, TB screening, health education and collegial support for local health workers.

“We are providing dental care for people who wouldn’t normally get care,” Daniel explains. “A lot of the dental work is extractions and educating people about oral health. Because the ship has a fully functioning dental clinic, the services we are offering are up to a very high standard.”

Dentists demonstrating

Daniel says to anyone considering volunteering that it is a great experience. “Definitely do it. It is the highlight of my year whenever I go and the experiences you gain you wouldn’t get working at your community practice.”

According to Daniel, more volunteers are always needed, or for those who cannot volunteer, help can be provided by donating online or donating dental supplies. “All funds and supplies donated are going straight to the people living in rural areas of Papua New Guinea, it’s a great way to support our nearest international neighbours,” he says. “Anyone can apply to volunteer; people come from all over the world from all sorts of different backgrounds – all united around the same purpose, to serve others.”

For more information, to volunteer or to donate, go to www.ywamships.org.au

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