HSPA Sponsors Mercy Ships Volunteer

Brenda Esparza has become the first Mercy Ships Scholarship recipient sponsored by the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) Foundation.

Esparza, a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification holder and active member of HSPA, is volunteering her skills as an Operating Room Sterile Processing Technician on board the Global Mercy currently serving in Sierra Leone. This critical role helps provide safe, high-quality care to patients in need. Esparza will serve with Mercy Ships through the end of October 2023.

When asked about how sterile processing is an important part of the work of Mercy Ships, Esparza shared, “We go above and beyond to provide the best service, knowing that every single detail of our job affects the patients and their best outcomes. I know that my job will provide a better quality of life for the people here.”


What is it like to be a Sterile Processing Technician on a Mercy Ship? “When other volunteers learn that you work in Sterile Processing, they say, ‘Oh my goodness – thank you!’ [The crew] really understands the importance of our team, and that’s something I haven’t felt for a long time in this field. [Our work] is a very crucial and important step for the patients who are coming here to have their lives changed.”

A hospital ship in Africa is a long way from home for Esparza, but she summarizes her time with Mercy Ships so far this way: “I miss my family – leaving them was hard – but this is bigger than me, and I am so thankful for HSPA and Mercy Ships. I feel really, really lucky and blessed to be here right now.”


Mercy Ships welcomes Brenda Esparza and extends gratitude to HSPA for sponsoring Brenda’s service in such a critical role. Because of your support and service, lives and families will be transformed in Sierra Leone.

Bringing Hope and Healing

On August 24, 2023, Sierra Leoneans welcomed the Global Mercy, the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship. Mercy Ships‘ newest state-of-the-art ship will partner with Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health for the next ten months to provide free, specialized surgeries and targeted training for in-country healthcare professionals. The life-changing surgeries provided will include maxillofacial surgeries, plastic reconstructive surgeries, orthopedic procedures, women’s health, general surgeries, eye care, oral health, mental health, and palliative care.  

Each year, more than 3,000 volunteer professionals from over 60 countries serve on board the world’s two largest non-governmental hospital ships, the Africa Mercy and the Global Mercy. This multinational team of professional volunteers, such as surgeons, dentists, nurses, health trainers, cooks, and marine engineers, dedicate their time and skills to support the life-changing mission of these unique hospital ships.