NEWCASTLE is about to welcome a new medical ship before she sets sail for Papua New Guinea to bring medical care.
The 37-metre sailboat is en route from the Netherlands, where it departed from in October, and is expected to arrive the city by the week's end.
The ship, named Ruach, was gifted to medical organisation YWAM Ships Newcastle in May last year.
After minor modifications are completed in Newcastle, Ruach will sail north to deliver medical services in remote villages of PNG.
It will be the first medical vessel Newcastle has sent to PNG.
YWAM Ships Newcastle managing director David Stephenson said PNG had the worst health status in the Pacific.
“A ship isn't the best option – it’s the only option for reaching these isolated islands,” Mr Stephenson said.
“What an opportunity we have to partner with our nearest neighbours in PNG to deliver basic health care services.”
The PNG government has partnered with the non-profit YWAM Ships for the past six years, as part of their national strategy in reaching its rural and remote citizens with medical care.
The Ruach will join the existing fleet of medical outreach vessels operating in PNG with YWAM Ships.
It aims to set sail in mid-2017 to deliver primary health care, optometry, dentistry, vaccinations, and medical supplies.
Fast facts – PNG health
- PNG has the worst health status in the Pacific
- Five women die from child birth every day
- Someone dies from tuberculosis every two hours
- 94 per cent live in malaria-affected areas
- 1 in 13 children die before the age of five
- Source: YWAM Ships Newcastle