Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. It seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. As an international charity with offices in various countries, Mercy Ships has worked in many developing geographical locations like West Africa. It returns to certain countries where healthcare needs are great still. To date, Mercy Ships has provided its services free of charge to over 70 countries and its services have been valued at more than US$1 billion. Mercy Ships estimates that it has had more than 2.5 million direct beneficiaries.
The Africa Mercy operated by Mercy Ships is also currently the world’s largest civilian hospital ship. It is equipped with five state-of-the- art operating theatres and specializes in maxillofacial, reconstructive, plastics, orthopaedic, ophthalmic, dental and obstetric fistula surgeries. Women’s health and general health are also treated onboard the ship.
The Africa Mercy has X-ray facilities, a CT scanner, a pharmacy, a laboratory, as well as an academy that educates children from pre-primary age through to the end of secondary. There is capacity for 82 in-patients with 4 wards and a small intensive care unit, as well as accommodation for 400 volunteers.
Volunteers onboard the ship include not only surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers and teachers, but also cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists. Their valuable time and skills contribute to the joint effort. Each year Mercy Ships welcomes more than 1,600 volunteers from over 40 nations, many of whom return to serve and are proud to call the ship their home.
Mercy Ships welcomes skilled volunteers from all backgrounds who are passionate about its vision of changing the lives of the world’s most needy through providing free healthcare services. The charity’s only hospital ship the Africa Mercy is currently stationed in Madagascar until May 2015. Whilst there, volunteer medical professionals will perform over 1,700 surgeries, 8,000 dental procedures and run other healthcare education programmes alongside their surgical efforts.
For more information visit: http://www.mercyships.org.uk/