31 Mar Mercy Ships Response to COVID-19 – UPDATE
The global COVID-19 situation has made it impossible for us to continue to carry out our surgical programmes to the required standards while protecting against the possible spread of the virus. Therefore, in line with the measures taken by the President of Senegal and in consultation with the Senegalese Ministry of Health, Mercy Ships has reviewed the activities associated with the Africa Mercy and made the decision to suspend our programmatic activities in Senegal.
Although the Africa Mercy is a medical ship, it is essentially a surgical specialist unit and it is not suited to provide care for patients with highly contagious respiratory diseases. The current unprecedented situation has presented a unique operational challenge. With the global air transport shutdown, volunteer professionals were unable to come and serve on our vessel and many of our medical volunteers have been asked to assist with the COVID -19 crisis in their home countries.
We are now expediting the annual routine maintenance for the Africa Mercy, with the aim to be back in Africa as soon as possible, and once the global COVID-19 situation allows, continuing our mission to bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor.
Our teams continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation globally and search how we can best stand together with our partner nations, crew and staff in these challenging times. The actions we are taking:
Working to transition key Medical Capacity Building programs to an online /remote delivery methodology in order to continue to train medical professionals in Africa. Specifically focused on content surrounding the care of critically ill patients. These skills are integral to caring for both surgical patients and those with COVID -19 infections.
- Providing continued support to the Gamal Dental School Capacity Building program by temporarily using remote online tools.
- Donation of USD $150,000 to the COVID-19 fund in Senegal to be used in the prevention and cure of COVID-19 cases.
- Repatriation of 180 or our crew, mostly medical professionals, back to their home countries.
- Donation of medical supplies from our logistic centre in the USA for use in local hospitals, fire departments, elderly homes.
- Evaluation to donate medical and other supplies from our logistic centre in the Netherlands
- Ongoing review of how best support global communities.
For over 40 years, we have focused on bringing hope and healing to those we serve. For the past 30 years, we have concentrated our efforts in Africa. During those three decades, we have worked to strengthen local healthcare systems.
We are encouraged by the good results we have realised through direct surgical care for patients and by training local healthcare professionals. Today these healthcare professional we trained in the past, are now frontline worker in the battle against COVID-19 in their respective countries.
As we face these challenging events, we would like to thank you for your ongoing prayers and support to our mission to bring hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.