Mercy Ships

Founded in 1978 in Lausanne by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships is an international humanitarian organization based on Christian values. Its mission is to improve access to surgical care in developing countries.

Mercy Ships helps the poor without distinction of race, gender or religion.

It also supports local development through training programs and medical facilities renovations, in order to sustainably improve the health systems of the countries visited. This is done in close collaboration with the host countries.

Mercy Ships is currently working in the Republic of Cameroon, with its ship, the Africa Mercy, based in the port of Douala.

Medical programs:

  • Maxillofacial surgery: Through corrective and reconstructive maxillofacial surgeries, our surgeons relieve deformities caused by physical conditions such as tumours, cleft lip, cleft palate and noma.

  • Plastic reconstructive surgery: Birth defects, burns and illness often cause deformities we correct through surgeries; including burn-scar contractures, benign tumours, chronic ulcers, combined fingers and many others.

  • Orthopedic program: Mercy Ships trains local surgeons in Ponseti casting, the “universal standard” in non-invasive clubfoot correction, and provides free surgical intervention for musculoskeletal conditions, neglected orthopedic
    trauma and joint diseases. To help maintain correction, Mercy Ships provides physical therapy onboard and also trains local partners in how to manufacture braces.

  • Women’s Health: support and medical care is provided for women who have suffered childbirth injuries. Mercy Ships provides extremely specialized surgery, continuing the recovery process through education and social activities for women who were often strongly rejected in their communities.

  • Ophthalmic care: ophthalmic surgeons perform free cataract operations, restoring sight to the blind. Additionally, doctors correct pterygium, strabismus and eyelid deformities and replace painful or disfiguring blind eyes with prostheses.

  • General surgeries: volunteer surgeons reduce the effects of neglected trauma, disease and congenital conditions by providing general surgeries for conditions such as hernias and goiters.

  • Dental care: Mercy Ships aims at preventing and reducing the effects of a lack of oral healthcare by providing dental treatment and dental hygiene education and training.

Other programs:

  • Training and capacity building: for surgeons and other local health professionals, who can also learn to manage and repair biomedical equipment as well as hospital administration.

  • Infrastructure renovations and small equipment donations: to improve hygiene and working conditions in local hospitals and clinics, allowing better patients’ care.

  • Agricultural Training: for families and poor communities to improve the quality of their food and thus improve their health.

All volunteers!

Mercy ships operates on a voluntary basis: each year, over a thousand volunteers from over 40 nations are committed with Mercy Ships. Professionals, such as surgeons, dentists, nurses, cooks, electricians, housekeepers, plumbers, bakers, receptionists, donate their time and skills to make a difference.

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