The end of January National Academy of Medicine conference, which brought together eminent doctors and professors of medicine, addressed the following topics: the allergic risks of the RNA vaccine for COVID-19; mitochondrial pathologies and reproduction; and lead-free cardiac stimulation.
During this session, Dr. Pierre M’Pelé, Director of the Africa Bureau de Mercy Ships, was invited to present Mercy Ships: its primary mission, to provide surgical care to Africa’s poorest people. Above all, he reiterated the urgency of the situation:
“More than half of the world’s population, nearly 5 billion people, cannot access safe surgical and anaesthesia services.
Africa alone accounts for 25% of global morbidity and one third of clinical conditions requiring surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia care. The African continent is home to 17% of the world’s population but has only 2% of the world’s total number of doctors and only 0.7 surgical specialist per 100,000 inhabitants.
And this is where we come in: in addition to providing free surgery on board our hospital ships, we train local health professionals and renovate medical infrastructures. Our aim is to leave a lasting impact after our ship leaves the countries we serve.
Since its commissioning in 2007, our hospital ship the Africa Mercy has made 10 months field services in 11 countries in West and Central Africa and Madagascar.”
At the same conference, Professor Marc Gentilini, a famous specialist in infectious and tropical diseases at the Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris and Honorary President of the National Academy of Medicine and the French Red Cross, recalled Dr Pierre M’Pelé’s career and praised the work of Mercy Ships:
“I was happy to welcome the young Congolese doctor Pierre M’Pelé to La Pitié hospital in Paris. He stayed for five years and left after having observed the first cases of AIDS patients in Congo who had been transported to La Pitié Salpêtrière hospital.
During about 10 years, he led the fight against AIDS in Congo, then joined UNAIDS and finally became the WHO representative in various African states. Such a great experience made him a particularly competent person, perfectly understood and respected in Africa, in Ethiopia, Benin, Togo, where he was also a WHO representative.
I would like to thank and congratulate Pierre for all the extraordinary work he has done and continues to do, since he retired from WHO, and joined Mercy Ships as a volunteer. I had the chance to visit the hospital ship the Africa Mercy, an extraordinary medical platform which brings help to people in need in all the ports where it is docked.”