23 August 2023
I have frequently posted on Linkedin stories of the voyages to Fiji and its remote outer islands and waters of New Zealand's medical mercy ship the MV Ywam Koha.
The vessel is again in Fiji where many communities are given health and dental treatments free of charge by volunteer doctors, dentists and nurses.
The ship goes by invitation only, partnering with local governments and authorities to develop long-term and sustainable relationships. They sail to isolated places, with the volunteer staff setting up clinics ashore, and conducting surgeries on board for free.
Two containers on board have been converted into dental clinics with a local dental professional helping set it up. Once in the islands, local villagers come aboard for basic health treatment from dentists and doctors.
Many of the remote island communities in Fiji are only accessible by boat. The vision of YWA
The same is the situation in the Solomon Islands
The ship goes by invitation only and is a catalyst to help island communities thrive. This goal is based on the belief that every person has value and should have access to the necessities of life – basic healthcare, clean water, education, and a future of hope.
Currently, the PRC has its own medical mission ship lying off Honiara and is providing basic health services to local people, which is welcome, but in my view regrettably tied to the PRC's display of soft power in an increasingly geo-political situation in the Solomon Islands.
I wish the SIG would consider formalizing ties with mercy ships like the Ywam Koha, or Ocean Watch to see to the increasing needs for medical and dental services for the people, especially in the more remote parts of the country, ties free from any "political" inferences that might be inferred by some over the visit of the PRC medical ship's visit.