01 Jun A place for HOPE and healing
Mercy Ships seeks to deliver top-to-toe patient care in every country we visit.
To this end, in every location we establish an outpatient facility called the HOPE (Hospital OutPatient Extension) Centre, where patients like Ulrich spend a significant amount of time.
The HOPE Centre is a building, often attached to the local hospital, that Mercy Ships identifies and renovates before the Africa Mercy arrives in port.
During the field service it acts as a crucial part of our medical work, offering a safe, secure, hygienic environment where patients come before their operations on the ship, and afterwards to convalesce. Without this facility, patients who travel from far outside the port city would have nowhere to stay.
“The HOPE Centre provides a unique environment for the patients and caregivers,” says Martha Rodriguez, who manages the centre. “It is like home away from home, and a sense of community is formed among the patients. Many of them have been shunned and ostracised in their villages. But when they come to the HOPE Centre they realise that they are not the only ones with bent legs, cleft lips, or disfiguring tumours.
“The patients are at different stages of pre-operative care and post-op recuperation but they all encourage each other along the way. The HOPE Centre also gives the patients an opportunity to go to the market, get a haircut or shop for local products.”
A dedicated, loving team
Staffed by a combination of volunteers and local hired workers, the HOPE Centre provides the same level of care and compassion as the patients experience on the Africa Mercy.
“What really makes the HOPE Centre such a unique and wonderful place,” Martha says, “are the dedicated, compassionate, persevering facilitators. They work 12-and-a-half to 13-hour days, and they do it with joy.
“The ship supplies us with all our cleaning products and breakfast items. We buy bread locally. The patients wash their personal items at the HOPE Centre, so we provide laundry soap bars. We also give each patient a towel, bath soap, linens, pillows and a mosquito net for their beds – and we have board games, cards, colouring supplies and puzzles.”
At the end of the field service, the HOPE Centre is handed back to the government for their use as a healthcare facility. The building in Cameroon – where Ulrich recovered after his surgery – is part of the Nylon District Hospital. When returned to the government, the refurbished centre will include inpatient rooms, ward and laboratory space, and consulting rooms for various specialisms.
This amazing facility – which will continue caring for the people of Cameroon long after the ship has sailed away – wouldn’t exist without your generous support.
Give a gift today to support the work of our HOPE Centre.Donate now
Our Canadian colleagues put together this short video tour of the HOPE Centre for their donors.