2022 Year in Review
This has been a year of promises fulfilled and hope realized. Thanks to you, Mercy Ships and local partners provided more than 2,000 life-changing surgeries and trained more than 1,100 healthcare workers. In 2023, with invitations to serve in three West African countries, your support is more important than ever.
Return to Sierra Leone in 2023
A historic moment as the two ships come together and prepare for the next season of work in Africa. Over the coming weeks, the Global Mercy will prepare for her first field service serving as a hospital and training center, and the Africa Mercy will prepare for further equipping.
Mercy Ships has a long-lasting history reaching back more than 20 years with the West African nation of Sierra Leone. Next year, the organization will add an exciting next chapter to this story. Upon invitation by the government of Sierra Leone, Mercy Ships is pleased to announce that the Global Mercy will sail to serve in Sierra Leone in the end of summer 2023.
During the field service, Mercy Ships plans to operate its newest, purpose-built hospital ship in Freetown to provide safe surgical and dental care, as well as advanced medical training and mentoring on board.
“Thank you, Mercy Ships, for your continuous humanitarian and medical support towards providing treatment to people with various medical conditions worldwide. This partnership agreement which was signed pre-covid includes a 10-month Global Mercy deployment for free surgical care in partnership with local institutions in Sierra Leone. The hospital ship will serve as a platform for training our healthcare professionals to build capacity. Programs will ensure that the positive impact of Mercy Ships will continue long after the ship leaves the shores of Sierra Leone. This partnership will support our vision to ensure a functional national health system delivering efficient, high-quality healthcare services that are accessible, equitable and affordable for all,” stated H.E. President Julius Maada Bio.
This upcoming visit will be the sixth in Mercy Ships history with Sierra Leone.
“We are excited to confirm that we are planning a future return to Sierra Leone. This will be our sixth field service working alongside this nation. Now we can fully step into an important season of assessing existing needs and identifying how we can best support to deliver hope and healing to those in tremendous need of surgical care,” said Gert van de Weerdhof, Mercy Ships Chief Executive Officer.
International Symposium and Dakar Declaration
The International Symposium and Dakar Declaration were an unique opportunity to:
- Create a continental roadmap for improving investment in strengthening access to surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care in Africa by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and, in particular, the goal on Health.
- Promote and strengthen national surgical, anaesthetic, obstetric and nursing care systems and improve the surgical ecosystem as a neglected component of health systems.
The roadmap was the result of:
- An assessment of the surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care situation in Africa with the identification of gaps.
- A list of priorities to be submitted to the African Heads of State, from an Action Plan focusing on concrete actions and investments [prioritized, streamlined, budgeted and achievable with the commitment of public and private partners] to change the situation for the achievement of the Health SDG N°3 by 2030.
- A strategy for implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Action Plan.
Medical Capacity Building Accelerated
Medical capacity building is an essential part of our work. In 2021, 1,343 participants had acquired 157,812 hours of training. Dental training in Guinea is a focus along with a nurse anesthetist training facility initiative. Other capacity building initiatives included pain management, biomedical technician training, mental health, and nutritional agriculture in countries such as Benin, Liberia, and Senegal amongst other nations.
Previous Mercy Ships programmatic activities that occurred after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic included the following:
- Training: Courses and eLearning, including mental health, the caregiver’s well-being, palliative care principles and food for life program.
- Dental and Surgical: Two initiatives related to dental clinic work and Freedom from Fistula.
- Senegal: Threes initiatives related to medical capacity building and training in our agriculture program.
As a result, more hope and healing will continue in Senegal as Mercy Ships brought a second ship to West Africa.
Health System Relationship Development is a Priority
COVID response initiatives related to the provision of personal protection equipment in 11 African countries demonstrated our ongoing commitment. Mercy Ships Canada also has two staff members that work internationally with Mercy Ships to help prepare for and carry out program work.
Global partnerships and innovation in program delivery are being used to carry out additional activities in 2022.