Mercy Ships Canada celebrates arrival in Dakar, Senegal

Canadian volunteers will help provide free surgeries and training onboard the world's largest charity hospital ship, the Africa Mercy.

DAKAR SENEGAL, August 15, 2019 - Today Mercy Ships has arrived in the Port of Dakar, where volunteers from around the world - with a strong contingent of Canadians - will provide free surgeries and medical training for the next 10 months.

In response to an invitation from the President of Republic of Senegal, the Mercy Ships program strategy is to partner with the Minister of Health and Social Action and other organizations to support the continued improvement of the country’s healthcare delivery system.

During the Africa Mercy’s 10-month stay in the port of Dakar, Mercy Ships plans to provide 1,200 to 1,700 life-changing surgeries onboard, to treat over 4,000 at a land-based dental clinic as well as providing healthcare training in partnership with local medical professionals.

We are privileged to return to the Republic of Senegal. ​ Together with current Ministry of Health and local health professionals, we hope to contribute to the alleviation of suffering for those with least access to surgical care as the country continues to refine their national surgical plan, in line with the government’s Plan for an Emerging Senegal (PES) policy framework (1),” stated Donovan Palmer, Mercy Ships CEO.

At the ship’s arrival ceremony, Senegal Minister of Health and Social Action, Mr Abdoualye Diouf Sarr spoke emphatically that the visit of Mercy Ships in his nation is deeply welcome.

"This is an opportunity for me to thank all the stakeholders who in their respective fields are working tirelessly for the success of this operation." Stated the minister.

The medical services officered by Mercy Ships are made possible by partners and volunteers from around the world. Mercy Ships Canada is proud of the contributions Canadians will be making this year in Senegal.

"Canadian partners and volunteers have helped transform thousands of lives in West Africa, and will contribute to multiple projects in Senegal this year. Thanks to volunteers who donate their time and professional skills, and donors who generously support their efforts, Canadians are helping provide incredible support for children, families and communities in need", says Mercy Ships Canada CEO Jamie McIntosh.

Thanks to donations from partnering organizations and individuals from around the world, surgeries onboard the Africa Mercy, as well as training and mentoring to local medical professionals, are provided at no cost.

These surgical procedures include tumour removal and other maxillofacial and plastic reconstructive surgery, cleft lip and palate repair, cataract removal, obstetric fistula repair, dental care, and orthopaedic help for clubfoot and bowed legs. Potential patients have been encouraged to attend regional pre-selection days to receive appointments for their specific medical needs.

An off-ship dental clinic will also be established, and patient selection will take place weekly. Eye surgeries are expected to begin at the end of the year.

In addition, agricultural specialists onboard the ship will be involved with training of local partners, who will in turn train farmers in aspects of sustainable, organic farming techniques to increase nutrition, thus improving general health.

In partnership with other international organizations, Mercy Ships will also provide training for selected local medical personnel who will continue to offer medical care long after the ship departs. The training/mentoring programs will include maxillofacial, plastic reconstruction, and fistula surgeons. Medical capacity building in areas of nursing, anesthesia, sterile processing and biomedical engineering will take a “Training-of-the-Trainer” approach.

With the help of generous volunteers and partners, Mercy Ships is working to spark change at a national level through partnerships with each country’s healthcare system, and globally through our awareness efforts about global surgery.

For more information on Canadian volunteers and Mercy Ships, please visit or email [email protected].

(1) ​ ​ ​ Plan for Emerging Senegal (PES)

INSET: Mercy Ships Strengthening Health Care video: ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

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