News

Ministry of Health confirms Africa Mercy’s® return to Madagascar in 2024

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ANTANARIVO, MADAGASCAR, SEPTEMBER 25, 2023 – Recent meetings between the Ministry of Health and Mercy Ships have furthered planning for the hospital ship Africa Mercy® to return to Madagascar in early February. Initially, Mercy Ships plans to dock the 16, 572 GT Africa Mercy in the port of Toamasina. During the field service, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the ship’s medical professionals, and teams will aim to provide more than 1,150 free specialized surgeries as well as targeted training for healthcare professionals. Mercy Ships has already embarked on the beginning of a 5-year country engagement plan that further strengthens the partnership between Mercy Ships and the people of Madagascar, with the development of local partners, and completion of an initial programmatic assessment.

Father is first patient in Sierra Leone to receive life transforming surgery on board Mercy Ship

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.

The Global Mercy™ arrives in Freetown, Sierra Leone to Bring Safe Surgery and Education

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On August 22, a long-awaited day of hope arrived as the Global Mercy™ sailed into the port of Freetown, Sierra Leone. It was a moment more than 30 years in the making. The start of this field service marks the next chapter in a three-decade partnership between Mercy Ships and Sierra Leone, meaning the floating hospital ship’s arrival wasn’t a greeting – it was a homecoming.

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.

Sierra Leone’s Journey for Better Health: Overcoming Obstacles and Embracing Partnerships

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For those of us on the ground in Sierra Leone, the challenges we face daily in providing healthcare services underscore the grave disparities present across the various corners of our planet when it comes to our ability, or lack thereof, to heal. In Sierra Leone, the most dramatic example of the challenges we face is the severe lack of qualified professionals equipped to handle our nation's diverse and growing healthcare needs, particularly in relation to surgical care.

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.