Press release

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE, SEPTEMBER 13, 2023 – A 43-year-old man who feared he would have to live with a tumor on his face for life was the first patient to receive a life-changing surgery on board the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, the Global Mercy™ yesterday (Sept 12th) in the Port of Freetown, following the ship’s recent arrival. Father-of-one Emmanuel thought the small lump in his mouth was just toothache or a cold sore when he discovered it four years ago. But it continued to grow bigger on his lower face and medication did not stop it continuing to enlarge. He had resigned himself to living with the tumor forever but he constantly worried that it would burst and complicate his health. Yesterday, the Sierra Leonean who lives in Freetown became the first person to receive one of more than 2,350 surgeries planned for the Global Mercy’s 10-month stay in Freetown.

Sierra Leoneans Welcome Newest Mercy Ship, the Global Mercy™ into Port of Freetown

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE, 22 AUGUST 2023 - In response to an invitation from H.E. President Julius Maada Bio, Freetown has welcomed a Mercy Ships hospital ship, marking the sixth instance of the collaboration between Mercy Ships and the government of Sierra Leone. This time it is the Global Mercy™ the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, which has docked at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay.  For the next ten months, Mercy Ships’ newest state-of-the-art hospital ship will partner with the Ministry of Health to provide free specialized surgeries to Sierra Leoneans and targeted training for healthcare professionals until June 2024. Mercy Ships’ programme strategy has been carefully aligned with the country’s current strategic healthcare plan.

Daouda, 13, who struggled to eat or speak due to tumour receives transformational surgery in Senegal

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A teenage boy who spent years seeking surgery for an expanding facial tumour that left him struggling to eat or talk has received successful surgery, thanks to a surgical charity. Dauoda was only four when a tiny node emerged on his upper jaw. The condition would be picked up earlier by a dentist in other countries but was much harder in his home country of Senegal where there are only just over eight dentists per 1 million people.

Partnerships are vital building blocks of effective universal healthcare systems

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Sub-Saharan Africa has an especially urgent need to strengthen surgical care systems. Surgery has long been a neglected component of health care for people on the African continent, and equitable integration of surgical and anaesthetic care remains the key challenge to strengthening health systems and achieving universal health coverage in Africa. If we get this right, we can greatly reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity from surgically preventable and treatable conditions on the continent.

Raising the bar of expectation while accelerating access to safe surgical care in Africa

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We celebrate World Health Day on April 7th, 2023, and I thought it is a good time to reflect on what “Health for All” means on the African continent.  In 2015 and 2017, the World Health Assembly (WHA) passed Resolution 68.15, and decision 70(22) respectively. Resolutions which recognised surgical and anaesthesia care as essential for universal health coverage and required the director-general to report on the progress of its implementation.  While much progress has been made to document and elevate the status of surgical and anaesthesia care internationally, things have unfortunately not progressed equally on the African continent. Life-transforming surgery has a massive impact, not just on the patient, but on their caregivers, direct family, their community, and beyond.   It is now more important than ever to ask, how we can we improve this? How do we do this better?  

Mariama, six, starts school after life-changing surgery

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As Awa grew up in her village, she encountered the hardships of living with a cleft lip. “People in my village did not cast her out, but they laughed at her, and she was ashamed. They would say ‘look at how your mouth and lip are’, which made her embarrassed. She used to hide her mouth with her hand,” said Rougui. Both Awa’s parents and her uncle kept looking for an answer to their prayers, but they couldn’t see any solution in their future.

Mercy Ships appoints Dr. Juliette M. Tuakli as Mercy Ships Diplomatic Ambassador for Africa 

GARDEN VALLEY, TEXAS DECEMBER 21, 2022 - Mercy Ships is pleased to announce that Dr. Juliette M. Tuakli has been named in the newly created role of Diplomatic Ambassador for Africa. The appointment will support the activation of strategic partnerships with governments, diplomatic entities, communities/social organizations that build awareness, engagement, and create opportunities for Mercy Ships engagement.  

Don Stephens, Founder of Mercy Ships, Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

WASHINGTON DC, USA December 15, 2022 – A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Don Stephens, founder of Mercy Ships this past weekend at the opening event of the GE7 Africa Visionary Leaders Annual Summit, held in Washington DC.  This award was presented by H.E. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of Government of Egypt.

Mercy Ships Announces the Global Mercy™ will visit Sierra Leone in late summer 2023

GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE AFFIRMS PARTNERSHIP WITH MERCY SHIPS TO STRENGTHEN SURGICAL CARE Freetown, Sierra Leone, 06 October 2022 – During an audience with His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the government of Sierra Leone and Mercy Ships extended their existing protocol agreements for their newest hospital ship, the Global Mercy to visit Sierra Leone.

Committed partnerships are the best way to ensure all Africans have access to life-saving surgical procedures

Cotonou, Benin – 06 October 2022: As Mercy Ships marks 30 years of service on the continent, providing free surgical care, training, and support from its hospital ships to local development projects in Africa, its Africa Bureau Director Dr. Pierre M’Pele calls for continued vigilance and tireless pursuit in the efforts to improve the level of health of African populations.