Today we learned about a really worthy cause, Mercy Ships. This is an international charity that operates the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world. Mercy Ships has an office near to where we live. They recently posted an advert on Facebook offering their old office furniture, as they are undergoing a big refurbishment. We put our name against a stationery cupboard and as a bonus we found out about all the good work they do for people in Africa who cannot afford medical treatment.
When president and founder of Mercy Ships, Don Stephens, started the charity in 1978 his research showed that 95 of the 100 largest cities in the world were port cities. Therefore, a hospital ship could deliver healthcare very efficiently to large numbers of people. Since the charity was founded in 1978 their hospital ships have provided over $1.2 billion of medical treatment. They have helped transform the lives of more than 2.54 million people in the poorest countries of the world.
Mercy Ships has operated in more than 57 developing nations and 18 developed nations around the world.
The current ship ‘Africa Mercy’ is crewed by 474 volunteer surgeons, nurses and ancillary staff and has five operating theatres and 82 patient beds to provide 7000 surgical procedures annually.
Mercy Ships are currently looking for volunteers including professional healthcare staff, surgeons, and admin staff.
Mercy Ships are not only a hospital ship healthcare provider. They also provide a whole lot of other humanitarian aid. These programs include free healthcare (vaccination and clinics) as well as community development projects, community health education, mental health programs, agriculture projects, and palliative care for terminally ill patients. They need all kinds of volunteers to make it work. You can volunteer to work at one of the 16 national offices around the world, volunteer as ship’s crew or even raise money by running, walking or donating money.
To find out more about Mercy Ships, please visit their website here