The Africa Mercy, the world’s largest civilian hospital ship with a crew of over 400 professional volunteers from more than 40 nations has arrived in the Port of Toamasina (Tamatave).
Charity Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world.
Madagascar’s His Excellency President Rajaonarimampianina, who welcomed the ship on its arrival together with Prime Minister Roger Kolo, said:
“It is my goal to transform the nation – a nation that has suffered 50 years of poverty. We want to bring hope again to our nation. More than the medical care that you are offering, Mercy Ships is bringing life to the Malagasy peoples.”
Mercy Ships plans to provide approximately 1,700 surgeries for adult and child patients onboard the Africa Mercy. The charity also plans to treat approximately 8,000 people at a land-based dental clinic during their 8-month visit.
The charity’s medical professional volunteers will provide holistic healthcare education and training to Malagasy healthcare professionals and its community leaders.
Prime Minister Kolo said:
“We want to take this moment to express all our thanks for all those that have been participating in the realization of this project today. We are honoured and privileged to have you here in our country.”
The arrival of the Africa Mercy coincided with Madagascar’s “Year of the Volunteer” celebration, where volunteers throughout Madagascar, including selected newly arrived Mercy Ships crew members, were recognized.
The Africa Mercy ship was converted from a Danish rail ferry into a state-of-the-art hospital with five operating theatres, X-ray facilities and CT scanner, a pharmacy and a laboratory. There is capacity for 82 in-patients with four wards and a small intensive care unit, as well as accommodation for the 400+ volunteers.
A patient selection centre will be open in Toamasina, where patients will be screened throughout November. All six surgical specialties (maxillofacial, plastic reconstructive, pediatric orthopedic, women’s health, general and ophthalmic) will be screened at the Toamasina site. Additional screenings will be offered in Antananarivo, as well as the highland and coastal regions of Toliara and Mahajanga in January and February.
For more information visit the Mercy Ships website: www.mercyships.org.