When COVID-19 changed the world and disrupted domestic and international travel in March 2020, YWAM MS made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend their medical and training outreaches in PNG and reposition the ship to Townsville, Australia for scheduled maintenance could occur.
The team also maximised the time by working on program development, helping to ensure they were well positioned to resume patrols to remote communities at the appropriate time.
YWAM MS’ Managing Director, Ken Mulligan, said a formal invitation to return to PNG was received from authorities in PNG for the purpose of strengthening the delivery of essential healthcare in rural communities.
“While the COVID situation is continually evolving, we plan to have the vessel in a state of readiness to respond flexibly in 2021.
“The ship will initially dock in Port Moresby, with plans to resume rural healthcare patrols focusing support on Western Province in the near term,” said Mr Mulligan.
YWAM MS is also in the process of establishing a youth vocational training hub and field-support facility in Port Moresby.
“As a registered training organisation in Australia, it has been a dream for a long time to establish a satellite vocational training campus to serve the whole nation with a focus on the young people in PNG.
“The goal will be to provide holistic training opportunities; combining vocational training with character development and service opportunities to help equip young people for jobs.
“While it is still early days, we hope to make significant progress toward the campus’ development this year,” said Mr Mulligan.
YWAM MS Patron for Papua New Guinea, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, said that the training campus will work hand in hand with the medical ship, MV YWAM PNG.
“One of YWAM MS’ distinctives is the close link between classroom training and on-the-field practical application, giving students the opportunity to serve communities while gaining hands-on experience in their chosen vocation.
“Field assignments will be linked to YWAM MS’ strategic activities in communities with the ship and land-based teams.
Sir Rabbie said, “The goal of this hands-on approach is to help instil a sense of responsibility and passion within our young people to contribute toward building healthy villages for a healthy Papua New Guinea.”