The Global Mercy, the newest hospital ship of medical aid organisation Mercy Ships, has arrived in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The new training and operations ship will contribute to the fight against the lack of medical care in this part of the world.

Upon arrival in Senegal, the Global Mercy was docked next to Mercy Ships‘ other ship, the Africa Mercy, where operations were in full swing.

On 30 May, African leaders agreed on the Dakar Declaration, which makes a commitment to joint efforts in surgical care in Africa between now and 2030. One of the concrete agreements made is that the countries will share doctors and medical training capacity. Never before have so many African countries and aid organisations chosen for a joint approach in the field of medical care. The participating African countries are Comoros, Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon and Senegal.

Also read: Hospital ship Global Mercy wins award as it is about to start operations in Africa

Official inauguration

After ratifying the Dakar Declaration, the Global Mercy was officially inaugurated in Africa by the President of Senegal, Macky Sall. During the so-called Africa Celebration, a festive ceremony, he cut a ribbon to officially inaugurate the ship in Africa.

The inauguration is the prelude to a month of medical training on the Global Mercy, during which the ship’s training facilities will be extensively tested. More than 260 Senegalese health workers will be trained in, among other things, surgical skills, neonatal resuscitation and obstetric anaesthesia. Surgery will be carried out on the Africa Mercy until the end of 2022, so the people of Senegal will be helped both directly with surgical care and structurally with newly trained medical professionals.

Also read: In SWZ|Maritime: New hospital ship Global Mercy headed for Africa

The need remains high

In recent decades, some steps have been taken towards the sustainable improvement of surgical care in Africa, but the need remains high. According to the Lancet Global Surgery 2030 Report, an estimated 16.9 million people die each year due to lack of access to surgical care. More than 93 per cent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to safe and timely surgical care.

The continent is home to seventeen per cent of the world’s population, but employs only two per cent of the world’s doctors. Only 0.7 surgical specialists are available per 100,000 inhabitants, an alarmingly low number compared to the WHO standard of one doctor per 1000 inhabitants as absolutely necessary for the provision of adequate medical care.

Together with governments of African countries and various partner organisations, Mercy Ships is fighting against this injustice. Operations on the hospital ships Africa Mercy and Global Mercy give people suffering from often easily treatable diseases a new life. At the same time, training courses for medical professionals are working towards a sustainable change.

Also read: World’s largest hospital ship Global Mercy docks in Rotterdam

Global Mercy in SWZ|Maritime

Before setting sail to Africa, the Global Mercy paid a promotional visit to Rotterdam in February and March. SWZ|Maritime visited the ship and talked to the people of Mercy Ships. In addition to coverage online, SWZ|Maritime’s April and May issues feature two parts of an extensive article on the ship and Mercy Ships’ operations (both available to subscribers in our archive).

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Also read: A glimpse on board the world’s largest hospital ship, the Global Mercy

Picture: Left hospital ship Africa Mercy, right hospital ship Global Mercy.