When the YWAM Medical Ships team first met Mandy, she was blind with bilateral cataracts.
Mandy had been blind for three years, she could only see light and dark shades and was heavily reliant on family members for her basic everyday needs. Mandy was just six years of age.
After undergoing cataract surgery onboard the YWAM Medical Ship, the MV YWAM PNG, Mandy’s family and the YWAM volunteers witnessed a special moment when the patches were removed from her eyes - Mandy reached out for the nurse’s hand - Mandy could see again!
Mandy’s is just one of the 384 procedures that have provided sight restoring surgery aboard the MV YWAM PNG to date.
Papua New Guinea is one of the hardest places to deliver healthcare in the world. Over 84% of the population live in remote, rural areas. These communities are scattered over rugged terrain, complex river systems, vast expanses of ocean, and an extensive coastline – just a few hundred kilometres from Australia’s coast.
YWAM Medical Ships helps overcome the challenge by accessing isolated communities with medical specialists, supplies, health services, and mentoring and support for rural health workers.
The MV YWAM PNG is equipped to deliver healthcare both ashore and on the ship. Clinics include dentistry, optometry, primary health care, health promotion, and ophthalmology. The ophthalmology clinic is run at strategic times throughout the year with both cataract and pterygium surgeries being performed in the MV YWAM PNG’s onboard day procedure unit.
The MV YWAM PNG’s day procedure unit consists of two operating tables, a pre/post-operative room for assessments, and a sterilisation area. Ophthalmologists perform pterygium surgeries, the SICS method for cataract surgeries, and have a focus on training local eye workers and surgeons whenever possible.
YWAM Medical Ships is seeking ophthalmic professionals who are willing to invest their time and skills to restore sight in PNG. Professions needed include: ophthalmic surgeons experienced in MSICS, ophthalmic scrub and scout nurses, sterilisation, technicians and registered nurses with eye health experience.
For more information or to apply, visit www.ywamships.org.au
2017 / 2018 YWAM Medical Ships Volunteer Dates
Central Province: 8 to 17 December, 2017
Morobe Province: 26 January to 11 February, 2018
Gulf Province: 13 April to 29th April, 2018