Press release

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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.

H.E. President Macky Sall leads inauguration of the world’s largest purpose-built hospital ship, the Global Mercy™

DAKAR, Senegal, May 31, 2022/APO Group/ H.E. President of Senegal Macky Sall has inaugurated the world’s largest purpose-built hospital ship and committed to accelerate access to surgical, obstetric, and anesthetic care for the nations of Africa.  Ceremonies commemorated more than 30 years of service in Africa.  International humanitarian organization Mercy Ships and its partners in Africa used the opportunity to come together in an unprecedented and strategic effort to improve access to safer surgery across the continent through a series of milestone events.

The world’s largest civilian floating hospital ship, Global Mercy™, arrives in Dakar, Senegal as first African port of call

DAKAR, Senegal, May 27, 2022/APO Group/ – The Global Mercy™ ship, purpose-built by international NGO Mercy Ships to provide surgical care to populations abroad, arrived in the port of Dakar, Senegal today. While in port, the crew of the 37,000 GRT hospital ship will participate in a week of ceremonies and events to inaugurate this new vessel into service in Africa, hosted by H.E. President Macky Sall. In addition, medical and training crew will carry out capacity building sessions onboard during the month of June alongside the surgeries on the Africa Mercy® which has been docked in the Autonomous Port of Dakar since February.

Global Mercy™ begins local healthcare training, following historic week of events in Dakar

DAKAR, Senegal, June 06, 2022: In the midst of celebrations around the arrival of the Global Mercy™ to Senegal, training has already begun by the crew of the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, currently docked in Dakar for its first African mission. In June, more than 260 Senegalese healthcare professionals will receive training on board this brand-new hospital ship, through a variety of courses, including Surgical Skills, SAFE Anesthesia, Nursing Skills, and more.  These first of many training sessions will address topics impacting delivery of safe surgical care.