Sierra Leone

A 21-year-old man is rejoicing after receiving free surgery from a charity to remove a tumor that had grown to half the size of his face.    Papa from Western Senegal was just a teenager when he noticed a small lump in his mouth. But despite hospital staff telling him it was just toothache and would heal, it continued to grow, causing him pain and partially blocking his sight. 

Reclaiming Life: Papa’s Story

Papa has a photo of a motorcycle engine on the wall of his bedroom. At just 21 years old, he has already established himself as an exceptional mechanic, dedicating his days to mending and reviving motorbikes. “Fixing bikes has always been a passion for me since I was a child,” he says.  When a large tumor began growing from the left side of his face, not only did it put his health in jeopardy, but he feared that it would dash his prospects as a professional mechanic. “This work has a lot of physical demands; it is harder to do with a tumor in the way,” he explained. 

A Life-Altering Surgery for Hassan

When a father passes away, a son struggles to remember as much about his dad as he can. Some of Hassan’s final memories of his father involved living with him while contracting the same condition that ultimately took his dad’s life: complications from an abdominal hernia.

The Impact of Timely Dental Care: Ibrahim’s Story

When 13-year-old Ibrahim arrived at the Global Mercy™ in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the left side of his face was tremendously swollen, protruding well beyond the teen’s jawline. He’d developed a simple toothache when he was 9 years old, but left untreated, the problem worsened, and a big part of his jawbone became infected.

A Double Portion of Blessings for Emmanuel

Of all the birthdays he’d celebrated in his life, Emmanuel’s 43rd would turn out to be something truly extraordinary. Just a few days after turning the page to a new year of life, a new chapter began. Emmanuel was wheeled into an operating room on board the Global Mercy™ hospital ship, where he became the very first patient to receive surgery during the field service in Freetown, Sierra Leone. There, in a surgery that took just 48 minutes, Emmanuel was freed from the tumor that had been growing on his neck for 4 years.

Ministry of Health and Mercy Ships Extend Stay of Hospital Ship in Sierra Leone to Provide Life-Changing Surgeries and Education

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the renowned international charity Mercy Ships, proudly announces the extension of the Global Mercy’s stay in Sierra Leone. This affirms the commitment to addressing the surgical needs of the Sierra Leonean people and advancing healthcare education in the region.

Finding New Freedom: Unlocking Ramatulai’s Voice

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. 

Learning to Eat: Cheikh’s Story

“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

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. 

Mercy Ships Celebrates Lasting Impact in 2023

Mercy Ships provided 3,295 surgeries for patients like Malang in 2023. Of those surgeries, 1,437 took place on board the Global Mercy™ during field services in two ports – Freetown and Dakar. The ship served patients from three countries – Senegal, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone. This work was only possible thanks to more than 1,318 skilled volunteers from over 67 countries, including 660+ Senegalese, Gambian, and Sierra Leonean national crewmembers.