From procuring pig intestines to promoting surgical safety, Mercy Ships volunteer Krissy Close is passionate about Medical Education to improve healthcare in Madagascar

Toamasina, Madagascar, March 8, 2015:  On International Women’s Day, Mercy Ships spotlights volunteer crew member Krissy Close. In 2009 she left her career in corporate America and discovered her calling in Africa. Currently she’s serving onboard the world’s largest civilian hospital ship and working to transform Madagascar’s medical providers, their practices and their national health structure.

As she oversees the Mercy Ships Healthcare Education programs, you may find her transporting pig intestines from the local market to the Mercy Ship for suturing practice during a Basic Surgical Skills course supported by our partner Johnson & Johnson . . . or organizing classes about the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist . . . or teaching Peace Corps volunteers a newborn resuscitation program . . . or facilitating trauma care and response training . . . or organizing onboard mentoring for surgeons, anesthetists and nurses . . . or whatever else is needed. The goal of these programs is to provide knowledge, skills and an attitude of compassion and professionalism to individuals in order to affect transformational development. The ripple effect of this training has the potential to impact thousands.

“Mercy Ships Medical Capacity-Building programs were created to address the needs of the healthcare delivery structures of our host nations, transforming individuals through medical education and training opportunities – not just behavior change, although that is a good thing, but we have found that offering our trust, investment, time and resources can lead to transformational commitment and bigger dreams for our participants – dreams and hope for a future of safe surgery and medical care,” stated Close.

“Transformed healthcare workers can transform hospitals from places of death and disease to places of hope and healing; transformed hospitals can lead to transformed national health systems that can provide for and bring healing to the nation. It doesn’t have to take a huge amount of money or resources or materials; a few passionate motivated people really can change the future for their patients and their nation,” she explained.

Close quickly turned the spotlight from her work to the local women she’s privileged to partner with.

“These women continue to show up at work in their local hospital day after day, even though they only get paid occasionally. While they have the skills to treat patients well, they often have no access to the appropriate equipment or supplies. These women will work all night trying to keep patients alive and then come to the Mercy Ship during the day, because they are hungry to learn skills that will help them to help others. They hand-wash and iron the one pair of scrubs they own every single night after work because they are so proud to have them and to be called nurses. They are my heroes,” Close said.

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to transform individuals and serve nations, one at a time.

“We see the incredible before and after photos of patients – their transformation is visible. But what if we could do more than just fix broken faces?” Close asks.  “I dream of a day when help from Mercy Ships is no longer necessary because every person in every nation of the world has access to safe, affordable surgical care.”

For more information about volunteering with Mercy Ships visit:




ABOUT MERCY SHIPS:  Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, treating more than 2.5 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,600 volunteers from more than 40 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. Learn more about who we are.


For More Information:

Contact: Laura Rebouche ́
U.S. National Media Relations Director Mercy Ships
Office:+1 903.939.7000
Direct:+1 903.939.7127

For Int’l: Diane Rickard
International Media Relations Manager Mercy Ships

Hi-res photos and general Mercy Ships B-Roll video footage are available upon request.