Floating mobile medical clinic for Pacific on way
A New Zealand-based volunteer organisation is refitting a boat to travel through the Pacific visiting remote islands providing free medical care.
A New Zealand-based volunteer organisation is refitting a ship to travel through the Pacific visiting remote islands providing free medical care.
Marine Reach is a Christian not-for-profit group, which has purchased the 55-metre long Pacific Hope through fundraising.
Once refurbished, the vessel will be able to carry up to 80 volunteers, including medical professionals, and 150 tonnes of supplies.
Marine Reach's chief executive officer, Captain Jesse Misa, spoke to Amelia Langford about his plans for Pacific Hope.
JESSE MISA: The Pacific Hope is a ship that we just purchased last year in Japan and we sailed it from Japan through the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and then New Zealand, and finally reaching New Zealand in 8th July it arrived here and we're now undergoing on a refit stage here in the Port of Tauranga and our hope is by next year sailing her out here to minister to the islands.
AMELIA LANGFORD: Okay, and let's talk about the makeover the ship is getting at the moment.
JM: Well basically we're stripping down the ship, we are replacing steel, we are deconstructing a lot of stuff from the vessel but then again we're also reconstructing a lot of things onboard but our primary project that needs to happen before the ship goes to the islands is our medical units on board which will be able to do ophthalmology, primary health care, optometry, and dentistry on board.
AL: And so once this ship is completed with the medical clinic, the kitchen, the sleeping accommodation etcetera, it will travel around the Pacific.
JM: Yes our first port of call after New Zealand, around next year, we hope to go to Samoa, we'll be there for a month in Samoa and after Samoa we're heading up to Fiji, maybe spending another two weeks to three weeks there and after that we head to Vanuatu where the bulk of the work will be happening for at least two to three months that year and then after that we return again to New Zealand to finish off our outreach year.
AL: And so what kind of demand is there for this sort of mobile clinic?
JM: Well if you can imagine there are many places in the Pacific without any airport, what connects islands in the Pacific are basically ships so the need for medical, the need for primary health care, and also basically dentistry and especially ophthalmology where they will never get it in the islands because of the remoteness of some places we go to, are in quite great need. Like for example we had [in the past] operated on people in the islands which had been blind for over 20 years because they would never get an operation where they're at. Right now looking at the needs in the Pacific, we would need at least four or five ships right now just to cover the whole area.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: