EAST SEPIK PROVINCE, Papua New Guinea — YWAM Ships Kona’s training and medical ship, the m/v PACIFIC LINK and its team of volunteers were enthusiastically escorted into Wewak for the first time last week by Tarawa canoes, seaplanes and traditional singing and dancing.
The guest of honor for the function was Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, who officially invited YWAM to expand its health care and training services to East Sepik Province earlier this year.
“In our system of government, health and education are prime priorities. YWAM’s assistance is helping us a lot, particularly for women and children in the remote areas that don’t have access to transport to travel to Wewak for treatment,” Somare said. “Services to the people are very important. I believe the people of East Sepik will appreciate this work very much.”
Brett Curtis, the director of YWAM Ships Kona, said the vessel’s welcome to East Sepik Province was very special and significant.
“We are grateful to be working alongside the East Sepik provincial government in helping to reach some of the most hard-to-reach places in the region. Our desire is to work in partnership as we collaborate with other NGOs, government officials and key stakeholders working in East Sepik,” Curtis said. “The welcome last week was a wonderful celebration as we marked the start of a new relationship. We are very much looking forward to what is to come.”
A number of key stakeholders have been hosted aboard the PACIFIC LINK over the past week, including government officials, church leaders, business leaders, local health workers and NGOs.
The ship’s health care services will commence in East Sepik on Oct. 1, and will include dentistry, primary health care, optometry, health promotion and collegial support and mentoring for local health workers.
YWAM’s medical ships, the m/v PACIFIC LINK and the m/v YWAM PNG, have seen over 118,000 patients in the southern region, Huon Gulf and Madang Province since 2010.
Supporters of the m/v PACIFIC LINK’s work in Papua New Guinea include the East Sepik Provincial Government, PNG Ports Corporation, Fred Hollow’s Foundation, Swire Shipping, Consort Shipping and Sepik Coastal Agents.