Meet Mercy Ships — the latest trend in floating hospitals.
Marius Prinsloo, a staff member at Mercy Ships, explains that “Mercy Ships operates the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship to serve the poor free of charge. Hospital ships can sail to areas of greatest need; carry large amounts of medical, construction and agricultural supplies; accommodate large numbers of experts from around the world including surgeons, doctors, nurses, teachers, water engineers and agriculturalists.”
Not only does Mercy Ships provide immediate medical relief and support to the poor in developing countries, but the organization focuses on training locals to build and develop sustainable infrastructure “to continue the work after Mercy Ships has left.”
“Crew members [aboard Mercy Ships] are volunteers who pay fees to serve. The global charity has volunteers from over 40 nations. Professional doctors, surgeons, nurses, teachers, dentists, marine and support crew live in a community onboard the ship and provide state-of-the-art medical care.”
Marius describes the pain and anger which envelops the lives of the thousands of patients that Mercy Ships treats. Demba, a 42 year old man suffering from a cleft lip and palatte, had been shuffled from doctor to doctor his whole life to find a cure for his malaise. As a result, “Demba was never allowed to attend school as the children mercilessly mocked him and the adults accused him of being cursed.” Although his sister taught him to read and write, Demba could not find a job—forcing him to live on the streets until a compassionate hotel owner trained Demba as a baker and told him about “the big white ship that could help him.”
Demba's surgery performed on Mercy Ships transformed the “anger in his eyes, a life long hurt and distrust of people” to “eyes filled with compassion and care.”
Such stories are the norm on Mercy Ships.
Dedicated to serving the continent of Africa, the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships’ and the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, has six operating theatres, and a 78-bed ward, intensive care, CAT scan, and isolation ward. With 15 national offices around the world, Mercy Ships has enabled the Africa Mercy to double “the annual capacity of her predecessors in terms of direct medical outcomes.”
Mercy Ships uses the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) to determine where those areas most in need of Mercy Ships’ help are located.
From February through August, “the Africa Mercy, will be delivering free world-class health care and community development services to the people of Togo. An estimated 70% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, [and] there is only one doctor for every 28,500 people -- compared to 74 physicians for every 28,500 people in the United States.”
Thanks, Marius, for bringing us on our maiden voyage with Mercy Ships!
Please visit mercyships.org to learn more.
(Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the world’s poor.)