Mercy Ships Africa Blog

Madagascar’s Teaching Surgeon Passes on Her Skills, Her Dream

In the often male-dominated field of medicine, Professor Fanjandrainy Rasoaherinomejanahary is part of a legacy of female healers. “I am the daughter of a nurse,” said the Malagasy surgeon and professor of visceral surgery, who goes by Prof. Fanja. As a young girl, Prof. Fanja had a unique vantage point in the field of medicine, observing as her mother worked in a surgical ward. As she watched her mother help patients on their way to healing, a dream began to grow in Prof. Fanja’s heart.

Supporting Safe Surgery: How a Biomedical Technician Found Her Place

If you were asked to picture a hospital crew, your mind may jump first to doctors, surgeons, or nurses. But it takes so many kinds of specialists, each with their own skills, aspirations, and tools, to keep a hospital running. Deborah Nutsugah worked in a hospital in her home country of Ghana as a biomedical technician, specializing in handling and maintaining the medical equipment used for patient care. “I make sure this equipment is safe to be used on the patient, and also safe for use by the surgeons and the nurses,” she explained.

The Boy with the Strong Spirit: Serigne’s Story

In a village in northwest Senegal, the name Serigne holds great significance. It resonates with leadership and authority. Many people and establishments proudly bear this distinguished name throughout the village, symbolizing a belief in their potential for greatness. This means that 6-year-old Serigne is in good company. His father, Abdou, says he deliberately chose the name because he foresaw a future of influence for his son.

Opportunity Made to Last: One Surgeon Mentee’s Story

In the spring of 2023, seven mentee surgeons boarded the Global Mercy™ while the hospital ship was docked in the west African nation of Senegal. Dr. Alida Ngandjio Sidi, a pediatric surgeon originally from Cameroon, came on board with confidence. She knew this was where she needed to be.

Mercy Ships Celebrates Lasting Impact in 2023

Mercy Ships provided 3,295 surgeries for patients like Malang in 2023. Of those surgeries, 1,437 took place on board the Global Mercy™ during field services in two ports – Freetown and Dakar. The ship served patients from three countries – Senegal, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone. This work was only possible thanks to more than 1,318 skilled volunteers from over 67 countries, including 660+ Senegalese, Gambian, and Sierra Leonean national crewmembers.

From Crewmember to Caregiver: Ngordy’s Mercy Ships Story

Ngordy Sow was working as a national interpreter with Mercy Ships in his home country of Senegal when he received his next assignment. He was asked to care for a new patient, a young boy named Mamadou, who was on board the Africa Mercy® to receive surgery for a painful hernia. When Ngordy arrived in the ward to start his shift, he was in for a surprise.

Meet the “Faithful Servant” of the Mercy Ships Rehab Team

While the Africa Mercy® and Global Mercy™ were docked in Senegal, volunteer physical therapists from all around the world came on board for months at a time to offer their skills and expertise. More than 350 patients came across many different volunteers on the physical rehabilitation team – but there was one familiar face that almost every patient met: Mame Birame Sy.

Finding Light in the Darkness: Umu’s Story

Have you ever met someone whose eyes dance when they talk? That’s the very first thing everyone notices when they encounter 3-year-old Umu. Her aunt, Fatmata, has always been amazed by Umu's effortless ability to make friends, regardless of where she goes. “She’s a very brave girl,” Fatmata shared. “She's intelligent. She’s a fast learner.” But although this contagious joy is Umu’s trademark now, it wasn’t always this way. Her birth came with an unexpected twist as she entered the world with a benign tumor growing from the side of her face and neck. This was a shock to her mother, Yei, who’d had no reason to expect anything other than a healthy baby girl. Seeing her firstborn with the growth was utterly devastating.

Life-changing Healing for Samba

After 56 years with a cleft lip, it took just a two-hour surgery to change Samba’s life and unleash his God-given potential.   Samba, a widower with four children, worked as a cattle farmer in rural Senegal, where he faced discrimination due to his lifelong condition.  He had grown used to his cleft lip drawing unwanted attention. Physical attacks were so commonplace that Samba couldn’t guess how many times they had happened.