Australia’s (YWAM MSA) new Training and Medical Ship, the MV YWAM PNG, and her volunteers were enthusiastically welcomed into Milne Bay Province with traditional war canoes and dancing on Saturday in Alotau.
After first serving along the Suau Coast on the way into Alotau, the vessel was met with a historic ceremony, hosted by the Governor of Milne Bay Province, Honourable Titus Philemon, who presented YWAM MSA with a cheque for K200,000 for operational funding, and a carved paddle – representing partnership in overcoming some of the challenges that many isolated communities face in Milne Bay when it comes to accessing healthcare.
The MV YWAM PNG has replaced YWAM MSA’s former vessel, the MV Pacific Link, which operated in the Gulf and Western Provinces for the last five years.
The MV YWAM PNG is four times bigger than the MV Pacific Link, and has capacity to operate for 11 months of the year throughout the entire Southern region and Huon Gulf – with activities including primary health care, dentistry, eye health and training.
The MV YWAM PNG will deliver health care and capacity building activities in Milne Bay on an outreach patrol schedule, in collaboration with Milne Bay Provincial Health Authority (MBPHA).
Governor Philemon said that watching the MV YWAM PNG dock into Alotau for the first time on Saturday was a very special moment for the people of Milne Bay Province.
“Milne Bay is the largest maritime province of Papua New Guinea with a large number of island communities – most of them remote and far flung.
“The arrival of the MV YWAM PNG marks a historic event for Milne Bay Province, it heralds a new level of medical and health services that the people of Milne Bay Province badly need.
“Our motto is to develop Milne Bay through partnership – I believe that is what we are doing with YWAM MSA,” said Governor Philemon.
Other dignitaries in attendance included the Alotau Town Mayor, Hon. Gita Elliot, MBPHA CEO, Mr Billy Naidi, church leaders, and senior provincial government representatives, including Deputy Governor. Acting Secretary of the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, Ms Hakaua Harry, was also present to represent the Minister for Planning and Member for Alotau Open, Honourable Charles Abel (whose department contributed K5.5million toward the purchase of the vessel on behalf of the national government).
YWAM MSA’s Managing Director, Mr Ken Mulligan, said that he was very grateful for the broad-based support of Milne Bay Province.
“The arrival of the MV YWAM PNG marked an important milestone in our journey with Milne Bay – Governor Philemon and Honourable Charles Abel, in particular, have shown strong leadership in regards to securing this ship to serve the people of Milne Bay – indeed, it was wonderful to celebrate and give honour to the many who have helped make it all possible,” said Mr Mulligan.
The MV YWAM PNG is in Alotau for preparation before sailing to the remote Woodlark Island (Murua), Tuesday afternoon for further clinics.
Source: YWAM Medical Ship
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