March 26, 2020 Press Release concerning the mission of Mercy Ships in Senegal

[To whom it may concern]

In the area of ​​the fight against COVID-19, the Senegalese Ministry of Health and Social Action and Mercy Ships jointly examined the activities associated with the hospital ship Africa Mercy. The two main concerns of the Department and Mercy Ships are the health of the Senegalese people, as well as the safety and well-being of the volunteers, crew and staff of Mercy Ships around the world.

In view of the courageous measures taken by the government under the leadership of His Excellency President Macky SALL, and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Senegal, the decision was made to suspend the programmatic operations of the mission of Mercy Ships in Senegal.

Although we regret these measures, we are convinced that they are necessary for the safety and well-being of the Senegalese people as a whole, patients, volunteers, crew, and staff of Mercy Ships worldwide whole.

Mercy Ships and the Ministry of Health and Social Action would like to thank all the partners of the mission in Senegal, the Senegalese volunteers, as well as the crew who made it possible to accomplish a large part of the objectives of the shortened mission during the 8-month stay of the Africa Mercy in the Port of Dakar.

1,407 surgical operations were carried out onboard, 5,591 patients were treated at the Sangalkam dental clinic, and 1,288 Senegalese health professionals were trained to help build medical capacity in Senegal in partnership with 17 hospitals from all regions of Senegal. These 1,288 health professionals were trained through mentorship and training, including 457 participants in surgery.

Every year, the ship undergoes routine maintenance. Mercy Ships hopes to accelerate the start of this work to help redeploy the Africa Mercy after the immediate crisis is over and to continue our mission of bringing hope and healing to the poor.

We remain open to the invitation of the Senegalese government under the leadership of His Excellency President Macky SALL to complete our mission in Senegal together, once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.


Mercy Ships is an international NGO founded on Christian values ​​whose mission is to improve access to health care in developing countries. With the world’s largest civilian hospital ship in Africa, Mercy Ships provides surgical services to bring hope and healing to those most in need, regardless of race, gender or religion. The crew onboard includes nearly 1,300 volunteers from 50 countries each year.

Our volunteers are made up of surgeons, dentists, nurses, cooks, engineers and other specialists who dedicate their time and skills to the cause. Through its training programs for local health professionals and the renovation of medical facilities, Mercy Ships is committed to making a lasting impact in the host countries.

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