Formation in 2009
Medical Sailing Ministries Inc. (MSM Inc.) began in 2009 using the 53-foot Yacht Chimere to provide remote-access-health and eyecare transport, and logistical support, amongst the islands of Vanuatu. Delivering teams of local and volunteer health workers – optometrists, doctors, dentists and nurses – to some of the most remote and inaccessible villages.
MSM Inc. is run by volunteers and operates along compassionate and inclusive Christian-values.
Our approach is collaborative and multi-pronged, based on establishing direct, grassroots partnerships with Vanuatu organisations and individuals; plus, others in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere as opportunities arise.
Current Focus on Oral Health
As our knowledge of Vanuatu has broadened and the network of relationships deepened, our focus in recent years has moved to oral health. Specifically, the promotion of oral health education and prevention strategies to assist the Vanuatu Ministry of Health address the increasing burden of tooth decay and gum disease throughout the country.
Working with in-country partner PCV Health (Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu Health) and dental products manufacturer, DentaLife Australia P/L we have developed the supervised tooth-brushing-in-schools program called “Gudfala Tut Skul”, which means “Healthy Teeth School” in the local language of Bislama. The program is all about establishing life changing, brushing habits in Kindy and Grade 1 children, then using this knowledge and experience as a gateway into families and the community.
Our move into oral health, builds on our experience coordinating Vanuatu’s first-ever, complete National Oral Health Survey between 2016 and 2018, and then assisting in the writing of a National Oral Health Policy for the Vanuatu Ministry of Health.
While seeking to improve the nation’s oral health, we also create employment and support local business, through the manufacture of our own coconut oil-based toothpaste in Vanuatu; for use in the Gudfala Tut Skul program,
Recognition and Support
As the Gudfala Tut Skul program has expanded, recognition and financial support has been received by way of grants, from the Geneva-based FDI World Dental Federation (through their World Dental Development Fund) and the International College of Dentists (ICD)
In addition, DentaLife Australia P/L was awarded the 2021 Oral Health Partnership Award by the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) for their support of the Gudfala Tut Skul program through Medical Sailing Ministries.
Since the beginning, donations from individuals, companies and organisations have enabled our work to continue, with special grants, like the ones mentioned above, and also from Rotary International, being treated as a bonus.
As a “Deductible Gift Recipient” (DGR), MSM Inc. is able to offer a tax deduction for donations; which we are always happy to receive.
To assist with establishing a more secure, long term funding strategy, we are currently trialing a program called “Tooth Buddies”, involving the sponsorship of Vanuatu schools and Kindies by Australian and New Zealand groups, businesses and individuals. An initiative that not only focuses on improving oral health, but also on expanding cross cultural understanding and establishing grass-roots relationships.
In conclusion, we thank you for your interest in Medical Sailing Ministries and welcome your feedback and comments at any time.
As they say in Vanuatu Lukim Yu and Tank Yu Tumas
& Deb Allen
MSM Inc. Coordinators
MSM Annual Report 2021 is now available
Greetings from MSM, The MSM Annual General Meeting was held this Sunday 5 December at 1:00pm Download the Annual Report now. Thank you again for your interest and support of MSM as we reflect on the year that’s past and look forward with anticipation to the year ahead Blessings Rob Latimer Secretary MSM