Canadian Country Engagement Team Member
Update from Liberia

Medical facility in Liberia
During the season of Hope and Joy, we pause to reflect on how your generous support has permitted Mercy Ships to undertake very significant activities in Liberia, Africa in 2021. Canadian Annick Sylvestre, Country Engagement Team, Operations Liaison in Liberia, shares an update of recent activities in the country.

Direct Medical Services and Mentoring

A Mercy Ships volunteer surgeon mentored three general surgeons in Liberia. The number of head and neck surgeries performed from June through December 2021 is 216  with 208 unique patients. Our commitment to ensuring accessible health care is demonstrated by our privilege to serve 127 women and 81 men: 182 adults and 26 children. Medical team members were mentored by other Mercy Ships staff and also continued at ELWA Hospital until early December. In addition, neonatal resuscitation training occurred with two Mercy Ships team members including one Canadian Erin Muyres serving as facilitators in six hospitals.

Leadership Development Training

In May 2021, Mercy Ships and the Liberian Ministry of Health hosted a Surgical Care System Needs in Liberia Workshop. The workshop participants identified leadership training as a high priority.

Mercy Ships responded and offered to teach a three-day leadership course. The training took place in three different hospitals: J.J. Dossen Hospital in Harper, Maryland County, Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County as well as ELWA Hospital in Montserrado County.

Following this training, several medical professionals decided to continue in this program and participate in the two-year leadership development course, a training program for leadership groups. The goal is to improve leadership performance for the individual leader and the leadership group.

Thanks to donors’ support, members of the Country Engagement Team like Annick have lived and worked in Liberia for the past year.  While in the country, they can also engage more effectively with their Liberian colleagues and people from other organizations and backgrounds. Annick reflected that it is always interesting to exchange ideas and share learning with people from different fields in both a professional situation and in more relaxed occasions.

A special acknowledgement goes to our colleagues at Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), who operate two small Cessna in Liberia. The assistance of MAF allowed the Mercy Ships team to reach the hospitals for the leadership training.

While Mercy Ships’ newest vessel, the Global Mercy, has been gleaning some of the photo highlights in recent weeks (as the equipping phase takes place in Europe), we trust that you will also enjoy a few of Annick’s photos from Liberia.

volunteer Florence Bangura

The Woman Who Forged Her Way Through Walls: Florence Bangura’s Story

Florence’s journey from oldest to newest Mercy Ship came full circle when she met the Global Mercy™ in 2023, the same year that the purpose-built hospital ship began welcoming its patients on board. Today, you can find Florence, now 49 years old, down in the engine room as a hotel engineering assistant.

Dr Austin Demby

Transforming Sierra Leone’s Healthcare: A Vision for Safe and Affordable Surgery

As experts from the surgical and healthcare world gather for the 64th Annual Conference and Scientific Meeting of the West African College of Surgeons in Sierra Leone this week, a profound dedication to advancing surgical knowledge and practice in the region is palpable. At the forefront of discussions lies the conference’s pivotal theme: access to safe and affordable surgical and anesthetic care in West Africa. This theme highlights the pressing need to address disparities in healthcare capabilities and capacities across the region, especially the critical importance of equitable access to quality surgical interventions.

Mission Madagascar

The Africa Mercy Arrives in Madagascar to Bring Hope and Healing Anew

Freshly refitted hospital ship, the upgraded Africa Mercy® has arrived at the island nation to build on the charity’s longstanding collaboration and will provide specialized surgeries in various fields, including maxillofacial and ear nose and throat, general, pediatric specialized general, pediatric orthopedic, cataract surgery, and reconstructive plastics. 

Patient Vanya

Reuniting with Vanya, Years After Surgery

In 2015, in an operating room on board the Africa Mercy while docked in Madagascar, the course of Vanya’s life changed.
Years have now passed since Vanya’s journey toward healing. In the time since, her improved ability to walk allowed her to return to school, where she loved studying environmental science and learning about the world around her.


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