Our newest ship, the Global Mercy, will soon join our fleet as the world’s first purpose-built civilian hospital ship. This ship was built by drawing on our 40 years of organizational experience.
Once she joins the Mercy Ships fleet, the Global Mercy will more than double our surgical and training capacity, and it is expected that more than 150,000 lives will be changed onboard through surgery over the lifespan of this new ship.
After construction is completed, this hospital ship will have the facilities needed to carry out a wide range of surgeries, including repairing cleft lips and palates, removing cataracts and life-threatening tumors, correcting debilitating burn contractures, and more.
With an expected service life of 50 years, the Global Mercy will continue a legacy of improved healthcare delivery in every nation we serve. Together we can make a difference in the lives of thousands and change the surgical landscape of whole countries, not only in the immediate future but for decades to come!
“Mercy Ships has the potential, within a generation, to help rewrite the healthcare narrative in Africa. We can train medical professionals and upgrade the quality of hospitals and clinics — all while saving lives. Imagine the hope and healing provided by this unique new ship!”
—Don Stephens, Founder
A Dream Years in the Making
The vision to transform lives by bringing hope and healing has guided Mercy Ships since the beginning. With each ship, lives are transformed in the nations we serve. But the need is ongoing.
Expansion and growth will facilitate more—more surgeries for those in need; more health professionals trained and mentored; MORE LIVES CHANGED!
Over the last 40 years, we’ve worked hard to increase the number of people impacted by the life-changing medical care found onboard our hospital ships. Since the launch of the Africa Mercy in 2007, Mercy Ships has planned to add another ship capable of greater capacity to our fleet.
“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”
In the West African country of Senegal, where Mercy Ships is currently serving, there is less than one dental worker per 100,000 people. This number is much smaller than the reported 61 dentists per 100,000 people in the United States. In light of this statistic and those like it, Mercy Ships has worked in partnership with the countries we serve to help provide professional dental care as well as dental training and education.
The Mercy Ships clinic, run by volunteer dentists and hygienists, was created with the goal of reducing the impact of dental disease. During our time in Senegal, our volunteers have seen over 2,600 patients and have provided dental treatments such as restorations, extractions, cleanings, as well as education on preventative techniques such as how to properly brush their teeth.
For many patients, like Mariama, access to quality dental care is the difference between a life of pain or one without. This mother of five spent six months living with excruciating pain due to a terrible toothache. The throbbing ache in her jaw shot straight up into her head all day long.
After visiting a local dentist with no success, Mariama saw an advertisement for the Mercy Ships Dental Clinic on TV. Assisted by her sister, Mariama arrived at the clinic to have her toothache examined. Sure enough, Mariama had multiple dental abscesses and required more than one visit to the dental clinic. Once all of her infected teeth had been extracted, Mariama was able to smile without pain.
“Now, it’s gone,” she said. “There is no more pain. Before the extraction, I couldn’t eat solid food, but now I can eat again, and I am living.”
Dr. Pearl Burns, Mercy Ships volunteer lead dentist at the Dental Clinic, said that without intervention, the toothache would surely have turned into swelling. In fact, many of the patients who receive surgery onboard the Africa Mercy are suffering from preventable conditions, such as 26-year-old Salematu from Guinea.
Salematu suffered from a large tumor on her face, which began as a tooth infection in her upper jaw. Eventually, the infection developed into an orange-sized lump in her cheek that caused her nose to shift and eye to bulge out slightly, disfiguring her face. Left untreated, the lump continued to grow, forcing Salematu, a first-year nursing student, to drop out of school.