YWAM Medical Ship

Youth With A Mission known as the The YWAM Medical Ship first set sail in 1991. Over the last 20 years they have provided over 50,000 dental procedures for 37,000 people. These underprivileged people living in 16 different Asia/Pacific Nations would have been unlikely to find the dental treatment elsewhere. This year YWAM’s Medical Ship will be based in Australia for service to Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNG currently has only 32 dentists for the entire nation. That’s 32 dentists to service over 6 million people! YWAM will be in the Gulf Province visiting people who most probably have never seen a dentist. The need is great and they are very lucky to be getting the opportunity for treatment.

The ship has a clinic onboard that can house up to three dental chairs. Since 1991 technology has taken huge leaps forward so unfortunately most of the equipment is now dated and supplies are scarce. Henry Schein Halas through the Schein Cares program has been instrumental in sourcing new supplies to outfit the clinic for the 2010/2011 projects. Now that the facilities have been updated they will be able to treat patients more efficiently and hopefully be able to perform more complex procedures. This will improve the general dental health and hopefully reduce the need to carry out so many extractions.

The restock of supplies is an ongoing commitment that Henry Schein Halas has made to the project. Along with 1300 Smiles 


who have been very generous allowing their staff across the country to volunteer, we hope to help YWAM in their ventures.

This week, the ship returned from its first outreach of the 2011 season, where in just 7 days, 257 people were treated with 750 extractions and 104 restorations in the ships onboard clinic. Their recent 33 clinic days have meant that 986 people were treated with 1714 Procedures!

Dental Assistant, Michelle O’Connell, was a first time volunteer from Melbourne. “The little kids were so brave” she said as she recounted the many children with severe decay.

One eight year old girl required a vast number of extractions. “She just sat there as we pulled out so many teeth” she said. “She didn’t even cry”.

Dr Daryl Holmes, of 1300 Smiles said that the level of oral health care in this region is very low. The infections in peoples’ mouths contribute to a wide array of other health concerns. It’s critically important to get the infection out so that they can live healthier lives.

The need for volunteers is great and all Dentists, Hygienists and Dental Assistants are encouraged to volunteer. Trips can be as short as 2 weeks but promise to provide a lifetime of experience that is not to be missed. Volunteers fly into Port Moresby to board the ship, they then set sail to a designated remote area. If this sounds appealing to you please visit www.ywamships.org to find out more information about how you can be involved.

Can’t volunteer but want to help? Donations are always needed but they don’t need to be for money. Your excess dental supplies and equipment would be most welcome. Contact YWAM to find out how you can be involved today!


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