Mercy Ships Welcomes First Patient in Madagascar and Will Return to Sierra Leone in August 2024

The Africa Mercy has arrived in the port of Toamasina, Madagascar, and a baby girl named Anjara became the first patient to receive free life-changing surgery since the international charity returned to the island nation. This marks Mercy Ships’ fourth field service in Madagascar, following previous visits in 1996, 2015 and 2016. This wonderful mission is thanks to the volunteers, local partners, and every one of our wonderful supporters and donors. Because of you, patients, families and communities will receive life-transforming surgeries. The Global Mercy has been operating in Sierra Leone since August of 2023 and is scheduled to depart on June 2024 for Tenerife where the ship will undergo a short maintenance and resupply period. Mercy Ships Canada is excited to inform you that the Global Mercy will return to Sierra Leone in August 2024 to begin its second field service and will serve the residents of this beautiful country until the second quarter of 2025. Stay tuned!

Current Activities

Madagascar and Sierra Leone in 2024 & Planning for Ghana in 2025

Meet some of our Canadian volunteers serving onboard our hospital ships:

Mercy Ships Canada is gearing up for another historic year, for the first time in 2024 both the Africa Mercy and the Global Mercy are conducting simultaneous and full field services in the year 2024.

The Africa Mercy has arrived in Madagascar in February 2024. The hospital ship implemented an extensive strategy to ensure the broad reach of its services, covering diverse regions within Madagascar. With registrations spanning 12 regions across the country. This marks Mercy Ships’ fourth field service in Madagascar, following previous visits in 1996, 2015 and 2016.

Darryl Anderson, commented from Mercy Ships Canada’s national office in Victoria, BC. “I am extremely proud of the role that Canadian volunteers play as part of an international team from over 60 countries worldwide.” Anderson continued “The wide range of skills from our volunteers speaks to the generosity of spirit that characterizes Mercy Ships Canada volunteers.”

Photographer Joshua Chau, a Canadian volunteer who documented Anjara’s journey commented “As a person with limited medical background, being able to document Anjara’s journey through her surgery has been a phenomenal opportunity. It was incredibly moving to see a mother presented with a tangible, life-changing solution for her child and I am grateful to have played a small role in it”.

Chris Attwater, a Canadian Volunteer who serves as Transport and Maintenance Manager has been leading the team that set up the dock with tents and everything needed to begin the field service here in Toamasina, Madagascar. He shared: "It’s truly been a momentous time aboard the AFM as the first surgeries have begun. This achievement is a result of our team's collective efforts and our partners' support. It’s been a humbling experience to witness the Lord's work through the hands of the hospital, Hope Center, and hospital chaplaincy crew as they directly interact with the Malagasy patients and caregivers, making a real difference in their lives."

Through an education, training, and advocacy strategy, the organization, in collaboration with Madagascar’s Ministry of Health, aims to increase the number of surgical providers, deliver training across the surgical ecosystem, develop sustainable educational programs, establish a network of healthcare providers, and advocate for the importance of surgery in healthcare globally. While the Africa Mercy delivers patient care and surgical training in Madagascar, the Global Mercy is simultaneously conducting her field service in Sierra Leone.

With a rich history spanning over two decades in Sierra Leone, the Global Mercy will be finishing up its first field service of 2023 and will return for much need maintenance and resupply of medical and ships supplies to ensure the vessel remains operatable and able to provide life-altering service to the people of Sierra Leone during its second field service in 2024.

During both field services in Sierra Leone, Mercy Ships will continue to deploy its newest, purpose-built hospital ship in Freetown, in delivering essential surgical and dental care. Additionally, the ship will serve as a hub for advanced medical training and mentoring on board. Mercy Ships is so pleased that an agreement has been reached with the President of Sierra Leone for a second field service in Freetown starting in August of 2024 and continuing into the second quarter of 2025. Standby for more information on this exciting development.

Mercy Ships is also continuing to formalize plans for a 2025-2026 field service in Ghana. A meeting was held between our international programs team which included Dr. Juliette Tuakli and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and government officials in Ghana in September of 2023. This meeting is part of our 5-year planning strategy of allowing time to effectively ramp up, assess the needs of the host country, establish diplomatic relationships, select patients, and plan effective surgery schedules.

With the help of our volunteers and donors, Mercy Ships Canada remains committed to our mission: following the 2000-year-old model of Jesus to bring Hope and Healing. We live out this mission to serve African people by efficiently using the two-ship platform providing direct surgical care and partnering with the African healthcare community by building sustainable medical capacity in the countries we serve.

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