There are so many sick and hurting in this world, and a vast majority of these people are physically beyond the reach of medical care. They may live in countries so poor that hospitals and medical professionals are a rarity. They may live in such a remote place that finding qualified medical professionals is almost impossible. The main goal of Mercy Ships is to meet this need; they are “a global charity [that] has operated a fleet of hospital ships in developing nations since 1978. Mercy Ships follows the 2000-year-old model of Jesus, bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.”
Mercy Ships is an incredible ministry that offers current medical care to some of the poorest places on the earth. You may be curious why they chose to use ships. Having a ship “is the most efficient platform to deliver a state-of-the-art hospital to regions where clean water, electricity, medical facilities, and personnel are limited or nonexistent. And, because more than 50% of the world’s population lives within 100 miles of the coast, we can reach more people who need care.” These ships have over 400 medically trained volunteers that sail from port to port giving treatment and aid. It’s a truly genius way to reach the world, not only with medical care but with the message of Jesus.
In the forty-year history of the organization, they have had up to three ships operating at a time. Currently, there is only one ship, the Africa Mercy, that is staffed and sailing, but they are seeking funding for a second ship. The Africa Mercy is the largest ship to date, weighing over 16,000 tons and has more space on board than all previous ships combined. Volunteers from over 49 countries have served aboard the Africa Mercy. She was built specifically for medical missions with Mercy Ships and acquired in 1999. Africa Mercy is the largest “non-governmental hospital ship in the world, effectively more than doubling the annual capacity of her predecessors.”
The Africa Mercy includes five operating theatres, along with recovery rooms, intensive care rooms, and low-dependency wards, which add up to over 80 hospital beds. The ship carries a CT Scan, X-ray, laboratories, a Nikon Coolscope for remote diagnosis, and more. These instruments have helped save hundreds of lives in remote places where people may not have even heard of this technology before. The ship also has onboard satellite communication that can transmit diagnoses and other data as needed.
Not only do doctors perform surgeries onboard the ship, but teams go out into surrounding villages. They seek to increase the health of villages by educating them on basic hygiene. They have medical and dental clinics that travel to reach these people living in remote places to perform simple procedures. Along with these services, they have community health, construction, and agricultural training programs geared toward teaching people necessary life skills.
Within the last few years, the Africa Mercy has traveled to Tamatave, Madagascar, then Cotonou in Benin, and finally Douala, Cameroon.
If you would like to read more about Mercy Ships, please click here. If you are considering becoming a giving partner with Mercy Ships, please click here. If you are interested in serving aboard the Africa Mercy, please click here.
Featured Image by Pexels