women stand together smiling with volunteersThe birth of a child should be joyful. But for many women in developing nations, it’s the beginning of a downward spiral into pain, loneliness, and poverty. For those without access to routine medical or surgical care during and after delivery, chronic medical issues such as vesicovaginal fistulas and rectovaginal fistulas can lead to spousal abandonment and community ostracism. These medical problems are relatively unknown in western countries where cesarean sections are widely available. They occur during prolonged or difficult labors, and they can have devastating physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences.

Mercy Ships doctors, nurses and other caring volunteers provide a holistic approach to treatment. In addition to medical treatment, we shower them with love, acceptance and head-to-toe healing.

Mercy Ships has a special way of celebrating their return to society: We hold a ceremony and give each woman a new dress that symbolizes her beauty. The women also leave the ship with follow-up instructions and knowledge to take back to other women in their communities.