Mercy Ships Africa Blog

Zackaria’s Hindered Sight

After Zackaria was born, his mother, Binta, began seeing signs that he was suffering from cataracts — a condition that her eldest child had experienced. “I knew about Zackaria’s eyes when he was still very young, as I had the same experience with my firstborn,” Binta said. “Elimane had an operation, but his surgery was not successful. I wept when I saw that my new baby was looking and moving in the same way.”

‘Living Proof that Change Is Possible’: Mercy Ships Medical Capacity Building in Liberia

Just a few weeks ago a new team arrived, carrying loads of anesthesia training equipment in their luggage. Almost all the anesthesia providers in Liberia have already participated in an online training course in SAFE Obstetric Anesthesia, which was offered by Mercy Ships in partnership with the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists (WFSA). Now, local Liberian anesthesia providers have welcomed teams to the country to facilitate the next level of practical training.

The Mercy Ships Africa Celebration: New Hope for the Future of Surgery

The arrival of the Global Mercy signifies a new era for the partnership between Mercy Ships and Africa. But she’s just one piece of a larger movement toward safer surgery. Drawing on the data gathered and analyzed at the International Symposium, representatives from several African nations met on board the Global Mercy to adopt the Dakar Declaration. "This historic document is the roadmap for the future of accelerating safe surgical, obstetric, and anesthetic care in Africa in the years to come,” said Gert van de Weerdhof.

A Miracle for Emmanuel

Leocadie cried when her baby was born, and the tears didn’t stop for the next three months as the tumor grew. Leocadie also dealt with glaucoma, meaning her vision was severely impaired while she was trying to care of her new baby. It was difficult to know how to hold him with the tumor, and others had to guide him into her arms. Without money to afford surgery, she was overcome with paralyzing fear for her son’s future.

Hounsigbo: Grace to Live Again

For more than three years, Hounsigbo lived in total darkness, cataracts clouding her vision in both eyes. Before, Hounsigbo had been busily working in her village in Togo, going every day to the forest to cut trees and weave mats out of their branches, selling them to earn a living. But now, the 70-year-old spent her nights and days in a small room in one of her children’s homes, her eyes watering constantly. If she wanted to eat something, she waited until her grandchildren brought it. If she needed to use the washroom, her grandchildren led her there. She was completely dependent on her family to survive.

Aicha: Three Generations Transformed

Aicha was the first child for her newlywed parents — a joyous start to their family! But, when Aicha’s mother became sick shortly after giving birth, their joyful celebration was put on hold. Three months later, Aicha’s mother passed away, leaving behind a devastated husband and newborn baby. Following her mother’s death, baby Aicha was taken in by her Grandmother, Mymoona.

Adam Zidane: Born to Play

It was no surprise that 9-year-old Adam Zidane loved playing soccer. He was born on the same day as a 2009 Champions League match, and he was named after the famous French soccer player, Zinedine Zidane. Nothing brought his father, Abdoulai, more joy than watching his son play the sport they both loved. But when Adam Zidane was just 5 years old , he received treatment for malaria, where an accident with the IV drip in his lower leg caused swelling and infection. The muscles in his ankle became rigid and contracted. The injury cost him the ability to walk properly, run, and — worst of all — play soccer.

Safer Surgery by 2030: African Leaders, Mercy Ships Gather for Historic Symposium

The political and scientific leaders of Africa are developing a plan to strengthen surgical, obstetric, and anesthetic systems from within over the next 10 years. In May, led by the government of Senegal, these efforts will converge at the International Symposium on Strengthening Surgical, Obstetric, and Anesthetic Care Systems in Africa by 2030. This event is part of an overarching Mercy Ships Africa Celebration, marking not only a step forward for the surgical systems across the continent, but a celebration of the 30-year partnership between Mercy Ships and the nations of Africa. None of this would have been possible without our supporters all over the world. And you’re invited to be a part of it all.

Assiatou’s First Steps

When she was only six months old, Assiatou was left with severe burns after a car accident. Due to the lack of affordable medical care, these burns eventually formed into thick scar tissue. Her left ankle was tightly contracted which left her unable to walk properly. Despite growing up without the mobility to flex her foot, Assiatou learned to adapt by stepping on her heel instead. This limited mobility enabled her to walk to school to pursue her education, but also made traveling exhausting and painful.