Mercy Ships Multiplies Medical Capacity Across Africa

CAMEROON, AFRICA — From primary trauma care training in Cameroon to agricultural mentorship in Senegal, the Mercy Ships Medical Capacity Building program has always aimed at the future.

“When the ship comes in, we do amazing work, but we can’t stay there all the time,” said Mercy Ships Interim International Chief Medical Officer Dr. Miriam John. “And it’s important that we help to strengthen healthcare systems as part of what we do.”

At the Mercy Ships Africa Celebration this spring Mercy Ships and its partner nations will take that work to the next level with a strategic plan for improved surgical systems across the continent by 2030.

Dr Nana CheophileCameroonian Surgeon:

“We have so many challenges because we have so many patients who have surgical problems. Such surgical problems are not really solved properly because, first, access to care is a problem and then we have a human resource problem like, for example, I’m the only orthopedic surgeon in this hospital. The workload is quite heavy for me.”

Mercy Ships trains and partners with African healthcare professional so they can meet the surgical needs in their own countries.

Rosa WhitakerMercy Ships President (2018-21):

In addition to the lives saved the hope restored is that Mercy Ships is providing people with the training and tools to multiply the effects. Everything that we’ve done is being expanded.

Dr Gary ParkerVolunteer Chief Medical Officer:

Medical capacity building, if you want to use the old story of teaching a man to fish versus giving the man the fish, that’s what it is. It’s empowering people within the nation to be able to provide what their people need.

Dr Sherif EmilVolunteer Surgeon:

What I appreciate about Mercy Ships is they come in and when they come in, they really invest in the health system of that country. They get to understand what the needs are. They get to know who needs to be trained and what service for training needs to be provided. They create relationships and networks.

Dr Odry AgbessiBeninese Surgeon:

Mercy Ships has allowed me to improve my surgical skills that serve my patients. Mercy Ships courses also allowed me to have another vision for the quality of care I would like to offer to our people.

Eliphaz EssahVolunteer Agricultural Program Manager:

Mercy Ships is investing in farming because Mercy Ships recognized that in terms of good health, you need a good nutrition, and for good nutrition to be effective, then you need to get the best knowledge of how to produce safe food. And that’s why we are here. That’s what Mercy Ships is doing.

I believe that we’re going to see a stronger, healthier, more prosperous, integrated Africa and a large part of that has to do with the fact that Mercy Ships and so many people who cared were there to partner the people of Africa.

About Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building, and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 55 developing countries, providing services valued at more than $1.7 billion and directly benefitting more than 2.8 million people. Our ships are crewed by volunteers from over 60 nations, with an average of over 1,200 volunteers each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills. With 16 national offices and an Africa Bureau, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information click on

CONTACT: Diane Rickard, Int’l Media Relations Manager, Mercy Ships,

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