Blog

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Dr. Marijke Westerduin and Dr. Salematou Camara met face-to-face as dentists on board the world’s largest civilian hospital ship – but their first encounter took place years earlier through a screen. In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, Dr. Westerduin logged onto Zoom calls from her home in the Netherlands to help train Dr. Camara, then a dental student at the Universite Gamal Abdel Nasser of Conakry (UGANC) in Guinea. These regular calls became a bridge, connecting Dr. Westerduin’s wealth of experience as a dental professional with Dr. Camara’s growing aspirations.  

Finding New Freedom: Unlocking Ramatulai’s Voice

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For the last 20 years, Ramatulai’s voice had been locked inside, as she was completely unable to open her mouth.  The rare condition, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) ankylosis, affected Ramatulai from early infancy when she experienced trauma to her jaw as a newborn. 

A Decade of Giving Back: One Maritime Volunteer’s Story

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As a member of the international community living and working on board the Global Mercy™, volunteer assistant bosun Ishaka Sesay is conscious that he has become an ambassador for his home country of Sierra Leone.  “That is why… people never see me with a frowning face, always with a big smile,” he explained. “That will take you a long way, toward whatever you do.” 

Reuniting with Vanya, Years After Surgery

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In 2015, in an operating room on board the floating hospital of the Africa Mercy®, the course of Vanya’s life changed. Until then, the 11-year-old had spent her childhood challenged by windswept legs that curved sideways. The condition – often caused by a combination of genetic factors and malnutrition – kept her from walking effortlessly or wearing the skirts and leggings she longed to wear.

Learning to Eat: Cheikh’s Story

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“Life is hard… Having a child who was born without the ability to eat,” said Ndeye. Ndeye’s only son Cheikh was born with both a cleft lip and a cleft palate. Because of these conditions, Cheikh struggled to breastfeed. Ndeye fed him milk from a bottle instead, trying desperately to make sure her baby had the nutrition he needed.

Bringing Life Into Their Days: A Spotlight on the Mercy Ships Palliative Care Team

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Mercy Ships strives to make safe surgical care accessible for as many as possible on board its fleet of floating hospitals, providing more than 114,000 life-changing or lifesaving surgical procedures since 1978. However, the sad reality is that not every single patient Mercy Ships meets can benefit from surgery. This is where the palliative care team comes in, serving to bring hope and healing through compassionate care and companionship to those with terminal illnesses. 

Adapted to a Vision: The Story of Maria Kuo’s Dedication

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For Maria Kuo, an interest in Mercy Ships and the free surgical care it offers has always been a part of her life. At the age of nine, her parents took her to a Mercy Ships tour in Gisbon, New Zealand, where she learned about the urgent need for direct surgical care and medical resources in sub-Saharan Africa. Maria determined, right then and there, to become a part of Mercy Ships’ greater mission.

Bringing Hope and Healing: What’s on the Horizon in Madagascar

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In 2024, Mercy Ships is excited to add the next chapter to our decades-long collaboration with Madagascar. During this coming field service, we plan to bring hope and healing anew by providing transformative surgical education as well as life-changing free surgeries to patients on board the Africa Mercy®. These operations will cover a range of specialties including maxillofacial and ENT, general, pediatric specialized general, pediatric orthopedic, and reconstructive plastics.

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

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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

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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.