23 Feb Africa Mercy completes 30,000th surgery
This International Volunteer Day marked two incredible milestones onboard our hospital ship the Africa Mercy, currently docked in Cameroon.
Volunteer ophthalmic surgeon from Texas Dr Glenn Strauss performed the 30,000th surgery on the ship – 10 years after performing the very first surgery onboard the Africa Mercy in 2007.
“I could never have imagined when I did that first operation on the AFM in 2007, that now, 10 years later, I’d be doing the 30,000th case. Not only that, but I’ve been privileged to train 47 ophthalmic surgeons who will provide tens of thousands more safe cataract surgeries in Africa and around the world,” said Strauss.
Dr Strauss’s main goal has been to train ophthalmic surgeons as well as to provide the surgeries himself. He teaches the revolutionary MSICS cataract technique (manual small-incision cataract surgery), which is a low-cost, small-incision form of extracapsular cataract extraction and is more easily multiplied in developing world settings.
“These milestones are the epitome of what Mercy Ships strives to do, and Dr Strauss is truly the image of our volunteers, all of whom are dedicated and caring individuals who change lives every day, thousands of times over,” said Don Stephens, President and Founder of Mercy Ships.
Since deployment 10 years ago, the Africa Mercy has docked in nine African countries for a total of 12 field services. The surgical specialities offered in the ship’s state-of-the-art operating theatres include maxillofacial, plastic reconstructive, women’s health – including obstetric fistula, paediatric orthopaedics, general, and ophthalmic (adult and paediatric).
In addition to providing surgeries, the volunteers on the Mercy Ship also provided medical capacity-building training courses attended by more than 7,800 African healthcare professionals. By providing training for the healthcare professionals, Mercy Ships surgeons help to ensure that partner healthcare providers will be better equipped to care for their country and provide safer surgeries in Africa after the ship leaves.