Mercy Ships is overjoyed to share that in early 2022, the Africa Mercy® will return to a beloved port — Dakar, Senegal. By invitation of Senegal’s government, led by President H.E. Macky Sall, Mercy Ships will continue this partnership and return to bring hope and healing to the people of Senegal.
During this field service, which will last through most of 2022, Mercy Ships will provide surgery to patients from across all 14 regions of the country. Many of these patients have been awaiting their opportunity to receive life-changing care since the start of the pandemic. With the help of our local partners and volunteer professionals from around the world, Mercy Ships is honored to fulfill that hope and complete our promise to return.
In addition, our collaboration with local healthcare professionals aims to further strengthen Senegal’s own capacity and assist the Minister of Health in creating a dynamic national surgical plan.
Health and Safety During a New Season
During the early outbreak of the pandemic, Mercy Ships made the difficult decision to leave our field service in Senegal earlier than planned to protect those onboard and in-country. The decision to return for a new field service comes after much research, planning, and prayer. Mercy Ships is committed to making a safe return for all patients, caregivers, crew, visitors, and partners in Senegal.
What does this safe return look like?
Mercy Ships is following several policies and vaccination requirements, which will allow us to operate in a safe and responsible way while providing life transforming surgery to those who need it most. Some of these COVID-19 protocols onboard include:
- Following health and safety measures, including wearing face masks and social distancing, onboard our ship.
- Following the local Ministry of Health’s health and safety requirements.
- Requiring all volunteer crewmembers to be fully vaccinated.
- Requiring and assisting our day crew to be fully vaccinated.
- We are working with the Ministry of Health to provide vaccinations to patients and caregivers when possible.
“Mercy Ships is committed to ensuring we can return to Senegal in a COVID responsible way. Whilst we know all missions involve some degree of risk, there are multiple measures we have put in place to reduce that risk whilst still being able to bring hope and healing to the people of Senegal,” says Dr. Miriam John, Mercy Ships International Chief Medical Officer.
2022 is an incredibly special year for Mercy Ships in many ways. Not only is it the renewal of a field service in Senegal, but also the newest Mercy Ship, the Global Mercy®, will dock in an African port for the first time. In 2022, Mercy Ships will also celebrate 30 years of work and partnership in Africa.
In honor of this milestone occasion, Mercy Ships will participate in the International Symposium on Strengthening Surgical, Obstetric, and Anesthetic Care Systems in Africa by 2030. This symposium, organized in collaboration with the government of Senegal, will gather many current and future healthcare leaders together in a time to share and learn from each other.
During this time, the government of Senegal will also host an event with many African heads of state to commission the Global Mercy, our newest vessel — not just a floating hospital, but also a floating training center. We cannot think of a better way to start this new chapter together.