– Ed

Mercy Ships is an international faith-based organization, bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor. Since 1978, Mercy Ships have delivered services to more than 2.71 million direct beneficiaries. The countries served by Mercy Ships are ranked as the poorest in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index.

The Africa Mercy is the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship and is dedicated to serving the continent of Africa. They have an average of 1000 volunteer crew, from up to 40 nations, serving on board each year.

Through the deployment of the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships works with host nations to strengthen the local healthcare system, while serving the dire and immediate needs of the host country. Mercy Ships improves the local healthcare infrastructure and builds capacity by providing training opportunities for medical professionals along with curative surgical interventions. Collaborating with qualified local and international partners, Mercy Ships’ programmes offer holistic support to developing nations striving to make healthcare accessible for all.

All surgical interventions are provided free of charge – all medical professionals (and other crew) are volunteers, paying their own way to serve with us.

The primary surgical specialities are: Maxillofacial Head and Neck (Tumors), Cleft Lip and Palate, Reconstructive Plastics, Ophthalmic, Women’s Health, Orthopaedic (Bow Legs), Ponseti Method (Club Feet) and General (e.g. Hernia). They also do Dental and Palliative Care.

Mercy Ships have sixteen national offices around the world. The primary function of each office is to raise awareness, crew and funding.

The Eye Care Programme on board the Africa Mercy is designed to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from cataracts, pterygiums, and other vision impairments, through life-changing surgeries. Procedures include: Manual small Incision cataract surgery, pterygium excision, paediatric cataract surgery, strabismus, conjunctiva tumours and enucleation.

Milo Falsing: When Milo Falsing was a child, he would travel on a ferry, the Dronning Ingrid, to visit his grandparents. After he learned it was going to stop sailing, he wrote a letter to the ferry company asking for one last ride. Today, Milo is the captain of that very ship which is now called the Africa Mercy — a hospital ship that helps volunteers provide free surgery and training to the countries it serves.

Don Stephens, Founder, Mercy ships
Brenda van Straten, Mercy Ships South Africa, National Director
Deb Louden, 4-Year veteran ward nurse
Melinda Kaney, Ward nurse
Dr Gary Parker
Marsha Tribe, Perioperative Ophthalmic team coordinator

The Africa Mercy has just completed a 10 month field service in Guinea. The eye team were able to do:

Cataract surgeries – 994
Pterygium surgeries – 140
Other surgeries – 2
Eye evaluations – 12’732

Also provided:

UV Blocking Sunglasses – 451
Reading Glasses – 4 703
Prescription Glasses – 18 Children

Volunteers and Donations:

www.mercyships.org (View the Mercy true life accounts on the web site.)

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