The evolving situation of COVID-19, highlighted by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) as a pandemic and the increasing travel restrictions applied by several countries, have made it impossible for Mercy Ships to continue to carry out its programs to the required standards, while protecting against the possible spread of the virus.
Therefore, in line with the measures taken by the President of Senegal and in consultation with the Ministry of Health, Mercy Ships has reviewed the activities associated with the Africa Mercy and made the decision to suspend the programmatic activities in Senegal.
The main concerns of Mercy Ships are the health of the Senegalese people and the safety and well-being of our own volunteers, crew and staff worldwide. Following the suspension of the programmatic activities, we are presently considering alternative ports for the Africa Mercy.
Annually the vessel undergoes routine maintenance and we currently are assessing how we can accelerate the commencement of that work. This would enable us to bring the Africa Mercy back to Africa once the immediate crises is over and continue our mission to bring Hope and Healing to the forgotten poor. Mercy Ships is also evaluating how the organization, given certain operational limitations, can be utilized to assist in the global COVID-19 response.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 Mercy Ships has focused on three main actions:
1. Looking after the patients under our care, including development of plans for the completion of their treatments in partnership with local healthcare services in Senegal.
2. Caring for our crew member, our local volunteers in Dakar and our staff globally by following the infection control practices according to best public health guidance from the CDC and WHO.
3. Adapting our longer term plans to fulfill our mission to provide surgical care and medical capacity training.
For more than 40 years, Mercy Ships has focused on bringing hope and healing to those we serve. For the past 30 years, we have concentrated our efforts in Africa. During those three decades, we have worked to strengthen local healthcare systems. We are encouraged by the good results we have realized through direct surgical care for patients and by training local healthcare professionals. We are eager to do even more in the future.
As we face these challenging events, we would like to thank you for your ongoing prayers and support to Mercy Ships and our mission to bring Hope and Healing to the world’s forgotten poor.
For questions or further information, please contact:
International Media Liaison
VP Global Branding
About Mercy Ships:
Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building, and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 56 developing countries, providing services valued at more than $1.6 billion and treating more than 2.7 million direct beneficiaries. Our ships are crewed by volunteers from over 50 nations, with an average of over 1,300 volunteers each year.
Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills. With 16 national offices and our Africa Bureau, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information click on mercyships.org.