Mercy Ships has given a first look at the construction of the world’s largest NGO hospital ship. The 174-metre, 37,000-tonne ship Global Mercy plans to sail to Africa in late 2021.
Mercy Ships, a faith-based global organisation powered by charitable donors and volunteers, has been providing world-class surgical care to those in need for more than 40 years, free of charge.
‘The Global Mercy will be a true modern marvel, a fully custom-built hospital ship with customised instruments, state-of-the-art technology and highly-trained talent of a modern hospital,’ says Rosa Whitaker, president of Mercy Ships. ‘It also represents a unique call-to-action for anyone called to serve, and it presents the opportunity for people to use their skill set to positively impact global healthcare.’
Health care for African nations
According to the Lancet Global Surgery 2030 Report, an estimated number of 16.9 million people die yearly due to lack of access to surgical care. Over 93 per cent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe and timely surgery. As Covid-19 threatens the stability of already fragile healthcare systems globally, the need to provide basic life-saving care is greater than ever, especially in low-to-middle income countries.
The Global Mercy will deliver a safe and clean environment to various African nations, providing help and resources from some of the most well-trained physicians in the world. Over the vessel’s 50-year expected lifespan, it is estimated that more than 150,000 lives will be changed onboard through surgery alone.
Operating rooms and training
In addition to providing surgeries, the Global Mercy will be outfitted with state-of-the-art training spaces including a simulation lab with virtual and augmented reality, mannequins and other training tools and simulated post-op care space, which allow trainers to simulate local conditions and limitations in order to teach best practices in low-resource environments.
The 174-metre, 37,000-tonne ship will have six operating rooms and house over 600 volunteers from around the globe representing many disciplines including surgeons, maritime crew, cooks, teachers, electricians, the host staff and more. The ship will also feature a 682-seat auditorium, student academy, gymnasium, pool, café, shop and library – all of which have been designed to accommodate up to 950 crew on board when docked in port.
The Global Mercy will join the current flagship Africa Mercy, more than doubling the impact of volunteers and services provided by the charity.