Guest Post: Martha Rodriguez, HOPE Centre Manager

10 April 2017
[:en]The HOPE Center is a facility that supports the hospital on-board the Africa Mercy (AFM). Its aim is to provide bed space, thus freeing up beds on-board the AFM, enabling more life changing surgeries to take place. Our patients and caregivers usually come from the distant provinces and stay with us after their surgery until no further medical intervention is required.

Ambulance drivers will transport them to and from the ship for their outpatient appointments to change bandages, see the doctor, or for physiotherapy sessions. The HOPE Center is not a medical facility and is not covered by medical staff. The purpose of the HOPE Center is to provide a safe, clean and loving environment for our patients and their caregivers.

The Hope Center facilitators and leader, Marta Rodriguez.
The Hope Center facilitators and leader, Marta Rodriguez.

Depending on the size of the facility (in Cameroon it will have 220 beds) the HOPE Center is staffed by crew facilitators (5) who supervise the day crew (54) that are responsible for cooking breakfast, cleaning the buildings, serving the food, translation and patient transport.

We hire a local caterer that cooks lunch and dinner under the direction of the ship dietitian to provide the most nutritious meals for our patient’s recovery.

Some patients stay for a few days while others may stay for several months. The HOPE Centre has the feel of a small community. New patients coming for the first time can see and speak with others that have already had surgery, this helps calm their fears and makes them feel welcome.

At the HOPE Centre we are a family.