Surgical operations and training that were interrupted in Senegal, a country in West Africa, will see a return to normalcy following the arrival of the hospital ship Africa Mercy.

The President of the Republic of Senegal Macky Sall announced Africa Mercy’s return to continue surgical operations and training that were interrupted in March 2020 by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ship’s presence is expected to last until November 2022.

The Minister of Health and Social Action presided over the arrival ceremony and welcomed the return of the hospital ship to contribute to the state’s efforts to strengthen the provision of surgical services.

“Human beings are at the heart of development, and it is imperative that they enjoy a better state of health for their full development and for their contribution to the development of our country,” says M. Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, Minister of Health and Social Action. “Therefore, the interventions of the Mercy Ships are an opportunity to achieve this goal, thus complementing the many efforts made by the State. To this end, I renew my confidence in all the members of the ship’s crew. I am convinced that the quality of human resources involved in this cooperation will enable us to give back hope.”

Between October 2021 and January 2022, the Mercy Ships patient selection team visited all 14 regions of the country. With the participation of the Chief Medical Officers of these regions, more than 900 patients have been selected for consultation with a surgeon with the hope to provide free surgery. Mercy Ships wishes to honor its promises to the people of Senegal and priority has been given to patients already identified in 2019 and 2020 by the Chief Medical Officers of each region. At the same time, nearly 750 health care providers will receive medical training in various specialties.

Mercy Ships has worked with the Ministry of Health and Social Action to develop protocols that ensure all activities are undertaken as safely as possible. These protocols are aligned with those in place in Senegal and Mercy Ships emphasizes that the plans may require further modification in response to the global and local coronavirus situation and will be updated regularly.

“Although Mercy Ships has never really left Senegal, it is an honor and a blessing to return in 2022. This return would not be possible without the partnership of the Senegalese government, which has continued to walk closely with us through a difficult season. On behalf of Mercy Ships, I would like to extend a special thank you to President Macky Sall for his friendship and support, which has enabled us to once again bring hope and healing to Senegal,” says Gert van der Weerdhof, CEO of Mercy Ships.

Thanks to donations from partner organizations and individuals, shipboard consultations, surgery, training, and mentoring are provided free of charge to local patients and professionals.

Featured image: The Mercy Ships fleet arrived in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and in the coming months more than 1,000 transformative surgeries will take place onboard. Photo: Business Wire