Blog

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A talented surgeon who is always seeking to learn, Dr. Thierno Bah has traveled to cities around the world for trainings and conferences. His experience and skill as an ophthalmic surgeon have already made him a vital part of Guinea’s surgical ecosystem.

The Woman Who Forged Her Way Through Walls: Florence Bangura’s Story

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Florence Bangura’s history with Mercy Ships spans 20 years, covering two countries, three ships, and four field services. At the age of 29, Florence worked as a welder on board the very first Mercy Ships hospital ship, the Anastasis, just a week after becoming officially certified in her trade. She later came on board the Africa Mercy® as a national day crewmember when it visited her home country of Sierra Leone in 2011, and in 2018 returned to the ship during its field service in the neighboring nation of Guinea.

Two Dentists Find a Powerful Shared Purpose on the Global Mercy™

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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.