Medical Sailing Ministries (MSM) began in 2008 in response to the need for medical transport to remote villages in Vanuatu. MSM currently operates using the 53 foot steel yacht Chimere, on loan from MSM members, (and brothers) Andrew and Robert Latimer. After much planning and preparation, 2009 was the first year of in-the-field service.
Chimere is crewed by like-minded, enthusiastic volunteers, who each share a sense of adventure, plus the simple desire to help others.
MSM supports The Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project; a joint initiative between the Rotary Club of Sale Central, The Uniting Church in Australia and The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, in association with the Health Department of Vanuatu. The Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project has been in operation for 10 years and is dedicated to bringing eye care services within reach of all and to training and equipping local people to be self sufficient in the long term.
The work of MSM involves meeting medical volunteers at pre-arranged locations and then transporting them, plus their gear, supplies and equipment, to remote islands, where clinics are conducted in village settings. Last year this involved visiting 18 islands, running 48 separate clinics, seeing 4,220 patients, dispensing 2,500 pairs of spectacles and arranging 300 surgical procedures.
Of course we all value our eyesight and take for granted our access to clinical care; just a phone call away. In Vanuatu, however, where remoteness, lack of money and the absence of medical services is the norm, impaired eyesight and blindness, (often from preventable conditions) is a particularly cruel affliction. Something as simple as a $2 pair of spectacles can be life-changing for someone who has struggled a lifetime with failing eyesight.
But the medical clinics deliver more than just eyecare. All patients attending the clinics receive a general medical check-up and have access to a broad range of treatments if required. On top of this, emergency care last year involved the resetting of two broken arms, one broken leg, the amputation of one finger (due to gangrene) and the evacuation of an expectant mother requiring a caesarean deliver in about 2 weeks.
This year it is hoped to add dental care and a mobile surgical unit to the medical service being transported.
Whilst Medical Sailing Ministries (and the Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project for that matter) arose out of a Christian commitment to serve, they demand no religious affiliation from volunteers, or those they seek to serve.
MSM is simply a humanitarian venture, built around showing love and compassion to those in need. Have a look at the MSM ANNUAL REPORT 2013