Mercy Ships is always looking to put itself out of a job: how wonderful would it be if every country we visited had enough safe operating rooms, trained medical staff, and reliable equipment so that patients didn’t need to wait years for treatment on board?
With this dream in mind, our Medical Capacity Building (MCB) program partners with a number of organizations in country working to strengthen the healthcare long after we head to a new port.
MCB provides vital mentoring for doctors, nurses, and technicians, along with donated equipment and renovation projects complete. When asked where the team can make the most impact, Project Manager Krissy Close references the Safe Surgery Initiative as key. As part of the Initiative,
MCB will travel to inland hospitals, teaching proven methods for increasing surgical safety. Many healthcare providers in Benin are hungry for these skills, and Close is optimistic about the potential impact: “What we do is just a drop in the bucket, and the bucket is huge…but science tells us that no matter how long it takes, enough drops will eventually fill the bucket.”
Around five billion people worldwide lack access to safe surgery, and according to a study by the Lancet Commission, almost a third of all deaths in 2010 were caused by conditions requiring surgery. West Africans are in particular need and Mercy Ships seeks to help meet it.