COVID-19

6 March 2020

Whether you partner with Mercy Ships through prayer, financial support, or volunteerism, you are a vital part of our family. Your dedication and generosity has enabled Mercy Ships to provide free, life-changing surgeries to people in need for more than 40 years.

Our life-changing mission would simply be impossible without our donors, partners, and selfless volunteers, and during this time of stress and uncertainty, we value those relationships more than ever. That’s why we will continue to provide complete transparency about our procedures during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.


Blog 5 – March 31st, 2020

The global COVID-19 situation has made it impossible for us to continue to carry out its surgical programs to the required standards, while protecting against the possible spread of the virus. Therefore, in line with the measures taken by the President of Senegal and in consultation with the Ministry of Health, Mercy Ships has reviewed the activities associated with the Africa Mercy and made the decision to suspend the programmatic activities in Senegal.

Although the Africa Mercy is a medical ship, it is essentially a surgical specialist unit and is not suited to provide care for patients with highly contagious respiratory diseases. The current unprecedented situation has presented a unique operational challenge. With the global air transport shutdown, volunteer professionals were unable to come and serve on our vessel. Additionally, many of our medical volunteers have been asked to assist with the COVID -19 crisis in their home countries.

We are now expediting the annual routine maintenance for the Africa Mercy, with the aim to be back in Africa as soon as possible, and once the global COVID-19 situation allows, continuing our mission to bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor.

Our teams continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation globally and search how we can best stand together with our partner nations, crew and staff in these challenging times. Actions we take are:

• Working to transition key Medical Capacity Building programs to an on-line /remote delivery methodology in order to continue to train medical professionals in Africa. Specifically focused on content surrounding the care of critically ill patients. These skills are integral to caring for both surgical patients and those with COVID -19 infections.
• Providing continued support to the Gamal Dental School capacity Building program by temporarily using remote on-line tools.
• Donation of USD $150,000.00 to the COVID-19 fund in Senegal to be used in the prevention and cure of COVID-19 cases.
• Repatriation of 180 or our crew, mostly medical professionals, back to their home countries.
• Donation of medical supplies from our logistic center in the USA for use in local hospitals, fire departments, elderly homes, for example.
• Evaluation to donate medical and other supplies from our logistic center in the Netherlands.
• Ongoing review of how best support global communities.

For over 40 years, we focus on bringing hope and healing to those we serve. For the past 30 years, we have concentrated our efforts in Africa. During those three decades, we have worked to strengthen local healthcare systems.

We are encouraged by the good results we have realized through direct surgical care for patients and by training local healthcare professionals. Today these healthcare professional we trained in the past, are now frontline worker in the battle against COVID-19 in their respective countries.

As we face these challenging events, we would like to thank you for your ongoing prayers and support to our mission to bring hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.

Looking for more information? Read through our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more.

Blog 4 – March 26th, 2020

The evolving situation of COVID-19, highlighted by the WHO as a pandemic and the increasing travel restrictions applied by several countries, have made it impossible for Mercy Ships to continue to carry out its programs to the required standards, while protecting against the possible spread of the virus.

Therefore, in line with the measures taken by the President of Senegal and in consultation with the Ministry of Health, Mercy Ships has reviewed the activities associated with the Africa Mercy and made the decision to suspend the programmatic activities in Senegal.

The main concerns of Mercy Ships are the health of the Senegalese people and the safety and well-being of our own volunteers, crew and staff worldwide. Following the suspension of the programmatic activities, we are presently considering alternative ports for the Africa Mercy.

Annually the vessel undergoes routine maintenance and we currently are assessing how we can accelerate the commencement of that work. This would enable us to bring the Africa Mercy back to Africa once the immediate crises is over and continue our mission to bring Hope and Healing to the forgotten poor.  Mercy Ships is also evaluating how the organization, given certain operational limitations, can be utilized to assist in the global COVID-19 response.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 Mercy Ships has focused on three main actions:

  1. Looking after the patients under our care, including development of plans for the completion of their treatments in partnership with local healthcare services in Senegal.
  2. Caring for our crew members, our local volunteers in Dakar and our staff globally by following the infection control practices according to best public health guidance from the CDC and WHO.
  3. Adapting our longer term plans to fulfill our mission to provide surgical care and medical capacity training.

For more than 40 years, Mercy Ships has focused on bringing hope and healing to those we serve. For the past 30 years, we have concentrated our efforts in Africa. During those three decades, we have worked to strengthen local healthcare systems.  We are encouraged by the good results we have realized through direct surgical care for patients and by training local healthcare professionals. We are eager to do even more in the future.

As we face these challenging events, we would like to thank you for your ongoing prayers and support to Mercy Ships and our mission to bring Hope and Healing to the world’s forgotten poor.

For questions or further information, please contact:

Diane Rickard
International Media Liaison
Diane.rickard@mercyships.org

Jitze Kramer
VP Global Branding
Jitze.kramer@mercyships.org

Blog 3 – March 20th, 2020

The current situation of COVID-19, highlighted by the W.H.O.’s announcement of the designation of COVID-19 as a pandemic and the increasing travel restrictions applied by several countries, have made it increasingly difficult for Mercy Ships to continue to carry out its programs to the required standards, while protecting against the possible spread of the virus.

Therefore, in line with the measures taken by the President of Senegal with the Ministry of Health, Mercy Ships has reviewed the activities associated with the Africa Mercy and has decided to adapt the programmatic operations of our mission in Senegal. The main concerns of Mercy Ships are the health of the Senegalese people and the safety and well-being of our own volunteers, crew and staff worldwide.

For more than 40 years, Mercy Ships has focused on bringing Hope and Healing to those we serve. For the past 30 years, we have concentrated our efforts in Africa. During those three decades, we have worked to strengthen local healthcare systems, and we have seen the consequences for people when those systems fail.

We are encouraged by the good results we have realized through direct surgical care for patients and by training local healthcare professionals. We are eager to do even more in the future.

We continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis. As we face these challenging events, we would like to thank you for your ongoing prayers and support to Mercy Ships and our mission to bring Hope and Healing to the world’s forgotten poor.

Blog 2 – March 16th, 2020

The current situation of COVID-19, highlighted by the W.H.O.’s announcement of the designation of COVID-19 as a pandemic and the increasing travel restrictions applied by several countries, have made it increasingly difficult for Mercy Ships to continue to carry out its programs to the required standards, while protecting against the possible spread of the virus. Therefore, in line with the measures taken by the President of Senegal with the Ministry of Health, Mercy Ships has reviewed the activities associated with the Africa Mercy and has decided to wind down the programmatic operations of our mission in Senegal.

The main concerns of Mercy Ships are the health of the Senegalese people and the safety and well-being of our own volunteers, crew and staff worldwide. While we regret these measures, we are convinced that they are necessary for the safety and well-being of all concerned. As we face these challenging events, we would like to thank you for your ongoing prayers and support to Mercy Ships and our mission to bring hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.

Blog 1 – March 6th, 2020

Mercy Ships is monitoring with concern the growing number of coronavirus cases worldwide. In Senegal, as of 05 March, four active cases have been reported. We are in constant contact with the Ministry of Health of Senegal and from the reports we have received, the Senegalese government is dealing with these cases in a prompt and effective manner.

Due to the very good infectious disease prevention measures we routinely follow onboard the Africa Mercy, we assess the risk to our crew, our patients and our local volunteers to be low at this time. In response to the current situation of COVID-19, we have convened our corporate Crisis Management Team, which includes representatives from the Africa Mercy in Senegal, and the International Support Centre in Texas. Crew and staff members are receiving instructions in personal health monitoring and increased hygiene to prevent disease transmission. Mercy Ships HR is in regular communication with incoming volunteers to keep them informed.

Business managers are reviewing critical activities to consider the potential impact of COVID-19 on our planned operations, and preparing to mitigate as required.

Government of Canada’s web page that provides Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak updates https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Please join us in praying for a successful containment of this new disease.

 

ABOUT MERCY SHIPS:
Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building, and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 56 developing countries, providing services valued at more than $1.6 billion and treating more than 2.7 million direct beneficiaries. Our ships are crewed by volunteers from over 50 nations, with an average of over 1,300 volunteers each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills. With 16 national offices and our Africa Bureau, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time.