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Medical Ships - Australia

news update October 2012 edition

G’day from Ken

What a year it has been. We have now completed our 2012 outreach season in PNG. There have been so many wonderful stories of restored life and hope; too many to include in our newsletter! On our final outreach for the year we ran our ophthalmology clinic out of Daru hospital. It is always quite special removing the bandage from a patient’s eye after surgery and seeing joy on their face as they experience restored sight for the first time in many years. It was also an absolute privilege to have both our PNG and Australia Patrons, the Honourable Mike Reynolds and Sir Rabbie Namaliu and his wife, Lady Namaliu, join us on the last outreach for the season. Lady Namaliu received cataract surgery from volunteer ophthalmologist, Dr. Keith Maslin. It was a delight to be able to provide this wonderful gift of sight to one of our cherished partners. Thank you for your ongoing support and advocacy of YWAM Medical Ships as we see more and more lives changed.

Ken Mulligan - CEO YWAM Medical Ships - Australia

Lady Namaliu undergoes preparations for cataract surgery.

Wife of Papua New Guinea Patron Receives Cataract Surgery Hand in hand they walked down the corridor of the Daru hospital. An eye patch covered the lovely face of Lady Namaliu, wife of Former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Sir Rabbie Namaliu. The PNG patron of YWAM Medical Ships Australia (YWAM MSA) and his wife had emerged from the operating theatre, where the cataract surgery had taken place. In a nation with very limited access to health care, even influential government officials are limited to specialist services. It was an honour for the YWAM Medical Ship and volunteers to provide this much needed surgery to Lady Namaliu. The visit began with a consult with Dr. Keith Maslin, a returning volunteer surgeon, making sure the best options are weighed and decided upon. While she stated that she was a bit nervous at first, Lady Namaliu graciously smiled and discussed with her husband. The next day, surgery day, she had bravely overcome her nerves and was anticipating seeing well again.

Sir Rabbie never left her side, as they waited for the procedure. Dr. Keith’s skilled hands worked quickly and effectively to remove the cataract and placed a new lens in her eye. During the Namaliu’s final day in Daru, Lady Namaliu’s eye patch was removed, and her vision returned. It was a privilege for the team to be a part of this special moment. She later commented, “Whilst I consider myself lucky for the surgery, my heart still breaks for the many others who are struggling out there in the villages of PNG. That’s the challenge...thank you for the work YWAM is doing.” Sir Rabbie and Lady Namaliu took time in the midst of their busy schedule to get to know the crew and volunteers, making everyone around them feel special and important. It was an experience that continues to show the deep and special bonds Australia shares with PNG.

Papua New Guinea Ophthalmologist-in-Training Joins the YWAM Medical Ship “We have a lot of mountains, valleys, and river systems where most of the people cannot be reached. And not only that, but we have problems with our health service delivery”, says Dr. Waimbe Wahamu. For this reason, Dr. Wahamu was glad he could join the YWAM Medical Ship this year on outreach in Papua New Guinea (PNG). He is currently working and training at the Port Moresby Hospital to become a specialised ophthalmologist. Volunteer ophthalmologist on board, Dr. Keith Maslin, was able to teach Dr. Wahamu a type of cataract surgery that is often used in developing nations to remove dense cataracts. When cataracts are left undealt with, common in the elderly of PNG, the result can be a very mature, dense cataract that may be more difficult to remove. Thankfully, the surgery that Dr. Maslin shared with Dr. Wahamu is very effective in these cases, and now Dr. Wahamu can be even more effective in helping the vision of his nation. Dr. Wahamu says he has worked to be an ophthalmologist because he believes eyes are the life of the body. To restore sight to the blind may only require a short surgery, however the the way it can change a life is long term. The ophthalmologist-in-training was also grateful for how everyone on the ship got along. Many of the ship’s doctors, nurses, dentists, and general volunteers are from around the world, but Dr. Wahamu says he believes they were all there with the right motivation. “This experience has been a very enriching experience for my life. I have witnessed how working together as a team, from different cultures and nations and different backgrounds, coming together as one mission to help people, can make a lot of difference”.

Dr. Waimbe Wahamu goes over surgery details with a patient.

To see more of Waimbe’s story, visit

In continuing with community development, so far this year we’ve been able to deliver 43,754 health & training services. Primary Health Care Patients - 4,622 Immunisations Given - 2,679 Dentistry Procedures - 3,113 Optometry Clinic Patients - 2,270 Group Education Attendees - 11,326 Individual Education Attendees - 2,549 Village Workers Trained - 108 Preventative Health Resources - 17,052 Ophthalmology Patients - 35

For more information: Address: PO Box 1959 Townsville QLD 4810 Australia Phone: +61 7 4771 2123 Fax: +61 7 4772 4414 Thanking our Partners:



October 2012 Ship Newsletter  

Helping restore vision through ophthalmology! Lady Namaliu, the wife of our PNG Patron, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, received cataract surgery from o...