28 Apr MERCY SHIPS COVID-19 UPDATE
Whether you partner with Mercy Ships through prayer, financial support or as a volunteer, you are a vital part of our family. Your dedication and generosity have provided free, life-changing surgeries to people in need for more than 40 years.
During this time of stress and uncertainty, we value our relationship with you more than ever, which is why we want to provide you with complete transparency surrounding our ongoing decisions during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
Where is the Africa Mercy now?
Currently, the Africa Mercy is docked in Tenerife, Spain. Here, following the mandatory quarantine required on entry, and in accordance with the advice set out by Spanish authorities, the ship will undergo the planned annual routine maintenance. Once the global COVID-19 situation subsides, it is our hope to return to Africa as soon as possible to continue our mission of bringing hope and healing to the poor.
How has the COVID-19 crisis affected volunteering with Mercy Ships?
Our ship’s crew hope to return to Africa as soon as it is feasible. We are still taking online applications for crew to volunteer in the future with Mercy Ships so we can be ready to respond fully when the restrictions are lifted. You can read more about how to volunteer here: https://www.mercyships.org.uk/volunteer
How is Mercy Ships keeping in touch with partners in Africa and helping others at this time?
Through the Mercy Ships Africa Bureau and key contacts in Africa, we are exploring ways to best support our partner nations, crew, staff, volunteers, and day crew during these challenging times.
Currently, Mercy Ships is:
- Transitioning key medical capacity building programmes to an online/remote delivery method to continue training medical professionals in Africa. These courses will focus on the care of critically ill patients, and teach skills that are integral to caring for both surgical patients and those infected with COVID-19.
- Launching a preliminary six-week course for nurses and doctors managing the COVID-19 crisis. Participants in each facilitated learning group will improve their skills in identifying and managing critically ill patients (specifically for COVID-19 related illness) and applying personal mental health strategies to reduce the risk of burnout during the crisis.
- Providing continued support to the Gamal Dental School in Conakry, Guinea through remote online tools, and supporting renovation plans and facilities upgrades for the anaesthesia and dental classrooms.
- Donating £120,000 to be used in the prevention and cure of COVID-19 cases in Senegal.
Additional equipment that was requested to help improve patient care was also donated to the Barthimée hospital in Senegal.
- Donating £96,000 of medical supplies and PPE to partners in four African nations: Sierra Leone, Benin, Liberia, and Madagascar.
- Donating medical supplies and masks to healthcare providers in both our Texas and Netherlands local support centers.
Will the Africa Mercy be used to bring relief during this crisis?
Although the Africa Mercy is a fully functional medical ship, it was designed as a surgical specialist unit and is not suited to provide the degree of care required for patients with highly contagious respiratory diseases, such as COVID-19.
We depend on volunteers to operate the Africa Mercy. With current travel and other restrictions in place worldwide, it would be vastly challenging to arrange for our volunteers from 50 or more nations to travel to the ship. Additionally, many of our medical volunteers have been asked to assist with the COVID-19 crisis in their home countries.
At this time, we remain supportive of our healthcare workers on the frontlines and patients suffering from this illness. Once this pandemic subsides, the suffering that patients in need of surgical intervention see every day will still be their reality. They will be desperately waiting for our return, and we need your support now more than ever to continue bringing hope and healing.
Should I continue to support Mercy Ships?
Yes! As this crisis reaches wider and deeper than anyone could have predicted, it is even more important to support Mercy Ships. What affects one of us, affects all of us. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to help bring hope and healing to those with little or no access to vital healthcare. To help us to strengthen healthcare systems in Africa. Visit www.mercyships.org.uk/donate to show your support. We pray for all those affected by COVID-19. We pray for wisdom for our world leaders to have the confidence and ability to deal with the situation as it continues to evolve.