Smiles Restored in Madagascar

Cleft Lip and Palate Repairs

Individuals suffering from cleft lip and palates often have a hard time doing simple things such as eating and speaking. 

In 217 days, volunteer surgeons performed 104 cleft lip and palate repairs that granted those individuals freedom to live a normal life.

Thank you volunteers and donors around the world that have made those surgeries possible!

Cleft Lips Deconstructed

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 700 births suffer from a cleft lip –a split usually in the upper lip. In the developing world most cleft lips are closed within the first year.

In developing countries like Madagascar there are few surgeons that can seal cleft lips. Mercy Ships volunteer surgeons not only performed over 100 cleft lip repairs this field service, but they also mentored local surgeons in the art of cleft lip.


Francina was one of 74 children who had their cleft lip and palate repaired by Mercy Ships in Madagascar. Her bilateral cleft lip and cleft palate made feeding her difficult.

Patient Francina

Francina’s mother used to dread feeding times; her seven month old baby girl couldn’t feed naturally off her like most babies. Babies like Francina often die from malnutrition.

Francina’s mother made the 18 hour journey with her baby, hoping that Mercy Ships could help. When she arrived to the hospital ship, Francina was underweight and not ready for surgery. Thanks to our infant feeding program we were able to help Francina reach a healthy weight and get her ready for surgery.

Today, Francina’s mother no longer worries about feeding time!

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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