Medical Volunteers Outreach Information Manual 2.0

Youth With A Mission is a global movement of Christians united in a common purpose; to know God and to make Him known.

Mission and Vision

YWAM Ships Kona is part of the worldwide Christian movement, YWAM (Youth With A Mission) using ships to serve the hard to reach by bringing the gospel and much needed medical relief to some of the most remote areas in the world.



We have the capacity to overcome isolation and lack of access through the use of ships, allowing local health workers and other volunteer personnel transport to many communities, which currently struggle to receive basic services. 

There’s more than 900 remote islands in the Pacific. Without airports, and with small populations, seeing a dentist, doctor or people to show them the love of Jesus are few and far between. 

With our ships we bring medical aid with doctors, dentists and ophthalmologists on board. We provide primary health care, health promotion and preventative medicine, oral health, as well as correcting reversible vision loss and cataract blindness. 

Teams of international volunteers globally serve individuals and communities with: 

  • Provision of primary health care 
  • Assistance with food, clean drinking water, and shelter 
  • Opportunity for education 
  • Healthy relationships 
  • Exposure to Christian faith and values 
  • Fair and productive government 

We also have vessels operating in Panama and Micronesia. 


There are many ways to get involved with he ship outreaches to PNG. The following descriptions may give you an idea of where you would like to serve.

We regularly run primary health care, dentistry, and optometry clinics as well as performing ophthalmology surgeries. We need a wide variety of professionals skilled in these areas. If you have health care experience outside these areas, please let us know, as our outreaches are not limited to the areas listed above. We look forward to expanding the services offered in the future.

Even if you do not have medical or marine qualifications, there are still so many opportunities to help and invest in the lives of the beautiful people in PNG. There are jobs both on board the ship, as well being part of our community engagement teams. For example: registering clinic patients, organizing children’s programs, helping distribute glasses or working in the kitchen! We welcome people of all ages and experience to join us on board as a general volunteer.

Many of the locations we access are extremely isolated with diverse river systems and many uncharted areas. When you inquire, let us know your experience and qualifications. We require a number of qualified mariners to operate the ship. This includes marine engineers, deck officers, and crew.

Church or business teams are invited to serve together on board the ship. Please register your interest early as team placements tend to fill very quickly.


We invite all medical professionals and primary health care workers to consider joining us for an exciting outreach in this beautiful nation. The PHC clinic has an emphasis on health education, malaria treatment and prevention, and infant health. YWAM Ships Kona also provides basic wound care, general health care, immunizations, and physiotherapy services. 

Will work aboard the ship and on land in temporary clinics to conduct patient consultations and provide basic diagnosis. They will be treating immediate health issues through education, pharmaceutical management, referral to secondary/tertiary care and/or minor surgical intervention. 

Conduct minor surgeries in the clinics on board, requiring only local anesthetic. 

Assess, diagnose, and treat patients alongside physicians. 

Conduct patient consultations to provide basic diagnosis for the presenting medical condition(s) and practice wound care or work at the immunization station.

See and treat patients with musculoskeletal complaints and give educational teachings. 

Provide prenatal care, maternal and fetal assessments, education on baby care, and hand out birthing kits to the women. We also gift solar suitcases to midwifes for attending births. 


Dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and specialists are welcome to join the dentistry clinic. With approximately one dentist for every 50,000 people, oral care is a huge need in PNG.

Mobile dental units are taken ashore to conduct cleanings, minor surgery, oral health education and preventive care. The dental clinic on board additionally undertakes restorative treatments. 

Conduct basic restorative procedures and dental surgery. The most common procedure is pulling teeth relieving people of pain & infection. 

Work independently or alongside dentists to provide oral health care and help in health care education. 

Help with preventive care and dental education. The dental assistant works closely with the dentist. 


Ophthalmology surgery is a critical component in restoring sight in PNG. YWAM Ships Kona is looking for ophthalmologists, orthoptists, and ophthalmic scrub nurses who can assist with cataract and pterygium surgeries. 

Will perform eye surgery on board. Patients with cataracts are brought to the vessel for surgery via our inflatable zodiacs and returned the same day. 

Assist during cataract surgeries on board. 

Help the surgeons on board during each case. 


Optical clinics are held ashore or on board in varying locations including local clinics, community centers, or outdoors. Thousands of pairs of collated glasses collected throughout the year are dispensed at the optical clinic. There is so much joy in handing a pair of glasses to someone who cannot see due to poor vision. 

Conduct patient consultations to diagnose the presenting eye condition, and overall medical condition in case referral for eye surgery is required. Optometrists address the patient’s need by treating eye conditions through providing spectacles, medication and referral to secondary/tertiary care or local ophthalmologist as needed. 

Are needed to help prescribe and distribute glasses and test vision at the eye chart, pinhole or reading station. 


Thank you for your interest in joining us for an outreach in PNG! The following information will give you an understanding of outreaches on board our vessels.

You will need to fly in and out of Port Moresby and then connect to your destination. Our registrar will inform you of the outreach destination and the airport you will need to fly into before you book your flights. Upon arrival you will be picked up by a YWAM representative and driven to the ship. Once on board, volunteers receive a comprehensive orien-tation about the ship and PNG.

All volunteers will be trained in their respective roles prior to clinics beginning. On board, safety training will be conducted and the national standards of health care in PNG reviewed. 

Volunteers will sleep on board the ship in a cabin shared with several others. We will try our best to accommodate married couples and families. There may be the opportunity to be a part of a small team that travels to a remote village overnight. In this case, you may stay in a guest house or with a local family. 

If you are a medical or marine professional, you will be placed in the team relevant to your skills. If you are a general volunteer, you will receive training and may be placed on a clinic team or serve on board in a housekeeping or cooking role as necessary. 

After each outreach cycle you will finish with a time of reflection and celebration with the ship community, remembering all the hard work, fun and the adventures that have taken place. 

While on board, you will also participate with regular housekeeping duties (e.g. dinner preparation or clean up). Clinic days are usually five days per week. Sundays are often a day off, with opportunities to be involved in a local church service. We work very closely with the local churches who are often the main healthcare providers. Several evenings a week you will have the opportunity to join social activities for all those living on board. There may also be opportunities in the evening to visit with the locals. 

We enjoy working with teams of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds on board the ship. Our diverse lives and experience brings richness into our midst and the bonds made, often go deep and last a lifetime. Although we may be culturally different, we soon become family and have many fun times. 

Building relationships while creating fun memories and developing personal character are a part of every outreach. At times situations or experiences may stretch or challenge you; it is important to support and encourage one another in these times. 


Life on board a ship is a lot of fun. Living in close community will be a new experience for some and we want all to work together to make it an enjoyable experience. Here’s more information about what life aboard a ship looks like.

On board a YWAM Ship, living conditions may be tighter than what you are used to. The vessel has steep stairs and the living quarters are compact, yet comfortable. 

Our galley crew plan, prepare, and create balanced and nutritious meals with the items available to them in PNG. Please note: the availability of fresh fruits, vegetables, and/or refrigeration storage is limited. 

PNG is a tropical climate, it can be very hot and often humid. While the ship is the opposite extreme with the air conditioners making it very cool at night. Please be sure to pack appropriately for both extremes. 

YWAM is a Christian mission organization and PNG is predominantly a Christian nation. While aboard there will be opportunities to be involved in group worship and prayer on board the ship and during outreaches. We invite you to pray with the patients you are serving and watch God at work. 

Due to the unique nature of these outreaches, we want to help you understand the accountability structure of our organization. The ship coordinator, from YWAM Ships Kona, will lead and facilitate the outreach. The medical coordinator will assist clinic leaders of each medical team to make sure the clinics run smoothly. The captain will oversee areas concerning navigation of the ship and safety on board. 

The catch phrase of PNG is “the land of the unexpected.” With this in mind, the schedule and locations of outreaches can change unexpectedly. Staying flexible is key! 

The dental and ophthalmology clinics are usually located in our on board clinic and the primary health care and optometry clinics are held in villages. The location may be a nearby school, church, outside, or in someone’s home. Conditions will vary depending on the outreach location. Your leaders will orientate volunteers as much as possible. 


It promises to be an incredible year as we visit the various islands of PNG. All through these voyages, each outreach will be unique: covering both rural and urban areas.

We have 14 and 17 day outreaches planned throughout the year. 

If you would like to apply to serve with us, please complete the online application for medical volunteers at
. We’d love to explore how we can partner together to serve the people of PNG!

Please note: placements are made on the basis of best professional skill-mix for forming treatment teams, rather than on a first-come-first-serve basis. We look forward to receiving your application.

Please ask our staff for further information should the timing not work for you to sail with us this year. We often have schedules prepared 18-24 months in advance.

What the costs cover:

  • Food and accommodation
  • Transport costs (pick-up and drop-off at airport)
  • Outreach uniform (two
    collared YWAM shirts)
  • Administration and
    resource materials
  • General ship upkeep and maintenance

What the costs
do not cover:

  • Travel between your home country and Papua New Guinea
  • Visa for PNG
  • Personal spending money
  • Immunizations and malaria prophylaxis
  • Personal travel insurance policy
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Any extra team items that you would like to purchase (see items to donate)

  For current dates, options an pricing please contact us at
[email protected]



Keeping in mind your airline’s baggage allowance, please feel free to bring extra items to donate to YWAM Ships Kona or the community you will visit. 

These can include: 

  • Bibles (English/Pidgin/Motu) 
  • Sunglasses & reading glasses (+1.00 to +2.00 needed most) 
  • Medical equipment and supplies (please request a list from YWAM Ships Kona) 
  • School supplies 
  • Kids program supplies 

If you want to donate medical supplies please contact us at medicalvolunteers@ywam for a current list of our needs and possible airline discounts. Please note we are only able to accept consumable items. We are unable to accept pharmaceutical donations. 

Don’t let lack of money hinder you from joining and serving with us on board our vessel. If you do not already have the finances for your outreach fundraising may be your answer. Should you need some ideas and tips for fundraising or you want to donate extra finances towards your outreach we are able to offer some suggestions.

First-time Volunteers

1. Visit and register online at:

2. Have a professional & pastoral /previous YWAM leader complete the confidential online reference form.

3. Medical and marine professionals – please supply all requested documents in addition to your registration.

Returning Volunteers

  Register online at

Complete these steps as soon as possible to ensure you can join your preferred outreach. Please note: you are welcome to register for more than one outreach or give a range of dates you are available. We will try to give you your first preference for outreach. However due to high interest, we cannot always guarantee additional outreaches.

Payment to YWAM Ships Kona can be made in the following ways:

Online at, under “DONATE” click “OUTREACH FEES” at the top of the webpage. Master Card and Visa accepted (an additional 3% fee applies).

American checks or an international bank draft made payable in US dollars. 

These should be made out to: 

YWAM Ships Kona
Attention: Accounting
75-5687 Ali’i Drive
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Direct deposit or wire transfer. Details to arrange payments of this type are available on our website

Outreach fees and payment schedule are included in your Preparing to Come pack. A deposit is due within a week after your position has been confirmed for outreach. Full payment is upon arrival in PNG, in US Dollars.

If, for whatever reason, you decide not to go on outreach, please notify us as soon as possible as there may be other individuals on the waiting list. Further details regarding cancellation and fees are included in the Preparing to Come pack.