In sub-Saharan Africa, up to 69% of people live on less than $2 a day. Healthcare doesn’t exist or is unaffordable. Over 16 million people die each year because they can’t get the surgery they need. In fact, more people die each year from a lack of safe surgery than from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Mercy Ships uses surgery ships to transform lives and serve nations, one at a time. Because we believe every individual is valuable, we offer free healthcare to people of African nations who would have no other way to receive help. As we serve in a nation, we emphasize strengthening the healthcare systems through training and through renovation and construction of clinics and hospitals. Our aim is to help our host country continue to develop and meet their own healthcare goals long after our ship has moved to another nation.

Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion, impacting the lives of more than 2.56 million direct beneficiaries.

Each year, more than 3,000 volunteer professionals from over 60 countries serve on board the world’s two largest non-governmental hospital ships, the Africa Mercy® and the Global Mercy™. Professionals such as surgeons, dentists, nurses, health trainers, cooks, and engineers dedicate their time and skills to accelerate access to safe surgical, obstetric and anesthetic care. Mercy Ships was founded in 1978 and has offices in 16 countries as well as an Africa Service Center in Dakar, Senegal. For more information, visit mercyships.org and follow @MercyShips on social media. 




How do we respond to the global surgery need?

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to bring hope and healing to nations who are holistically building stronger healthcare systems.

Check out our stories and updates from our team, partners, patients and volunteers onboard the ship.

Check out our stories and updates from our team, partners, patients and volunteers onboard the ship.

Mercy Ships Africa Bureau

For over 40 years Mercy Ships has been invited to African Nations. Our African Bureau, based out of Benin, is available to answer your questions and to tell you more about our work in Africa. Mercy Ships Africa Bureau established in 11th October 2016 through an Accord de Siège signed by Don Stephens and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Benin

International Board

While living in Lausanne, Switzerland, Don Stephens began a journey that led to the founding of Mercy Ships in 1978. In fact, Don and his wife Deyon lived onboard the first Mercy Ship with their four children for 10 years.Don continues to serve on the  Mercy Ships International Board, which has 38 active members and 2 emeritus members, from 14 nations.