A record-breaking Rotary Foundation Global Grant will fund vital medical equipment on the world’s largest purpose-built hospital ship.

Rotary partnership

A record-breaking Rotary Foundation Global Grant will fund vital medical equipment on the world’s largest purpose-built hospital ship.

1st September 2020:  A Rotary Foundation Global Grant of $1.125 million has been approved with Mercy Ships to fund equipment for the latest addition to their fleet, the Global Mercy, and training for African medical professionals.

Rotary Great Britain and Ireland are delighted to announce that the largest Rotary Foundation Global Grant of $1.125 million has been approved. This grant will enable Rotary and Mercy Ships to fund a brand new, state of the art CT scanner, and other vital equipment onboard the Global Mercy, which launches next year.

The Global Mercy is the largest purpose-built NGO hospital ship. It will double the impact of Mercy Ships on healthcare systems throughout West Africa.

The money will provide a range of sophisticated medical equipment for Decks 3 & 4: the ship’s hospital decks with six operating theatres, three infection isolation rooms, 147 ward beds, six post-operative recovery beds and four intensive care beds. It will also provide training and education for local healthcare workers.

Mercy Ships UK’s Acting Executive Director, Joanne Balaam, said, “Mercy Ships is delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with Rotary.

“The Global Grant of $1.125M will fund equipment onboard our new teaching hospital, the Global Mercy, as we increase our capacity and realise a shared vision: to build self-sustaining healthcare systems, to change and save significantly more lives than ever before, and to leave a lasting legacy across the countries of Africa.

“To everyone who donated to this incredible campaign from all around the world, your gift truly makes a difference, thank you!”

Worldwide, 2 out of 3 people cannot access surgery when they need it. This is because they cannot afford it, they cannot access it, or it is simply not available in their country. Every year, more than 18 million people die unnecessarily from conditions that could have been treated by surgery.

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to respond to this global surgery crisis by reducing the surgical backlog in developing countries while providing training and mentoring to increase local medical skills and renovating local facilities in each of the countries the hospital ships visit.

It is through this pioneering approach that Mercy Ships has been able to change and save lives for over 40 years. One such life was Adama, a young mother from Guinea. Adama developed cataracts whilst she was pregnant with twins and by the time she gave birth she was completely blind. Unable to access the simple surgery that would restore her sight, Adama would never see her new family. It was not until Adama received a free, 20-minute procedure from Mercy Ships that she was able to see her children’s faces for the first time.

Over the Global Mercy’s expected lifespan of 50 years, it is estimated that more than 150,000 lives will be transformed through free surgery. The new ship will enable Mercy Ships to reach more people in desperate need, train more local healthcare professionals and serve two nations at once.

The Global Grant was led by District 1260 (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire) and involved over 300 clubs from the UK and Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and 13 states in the USA.

Paul Denton, Chair of District 1260 Global Grants Committee, added, “The Grant galvanised the generosity of Rotary, truly capturing imaginations and hearts: 31 Rotary Districts, 341 clubs across the UK and the world from Oklahoma to Seoul all found a common cause to support Mercy Ships and shows that Rotary Opens Opportunities.”

Debbie Hodge, Rotary GB&I president 2018-19, said, “Little acts of kindness and generosity make a huge difference in an individual’s life, but join up all that kindness and generosity and you can change the lives of whole communities, whole nations and even a whole continent. This Global Grant of 1.125 million dollars will do that!”

Henry Clarke, Mercy Ships UK Chairman, added, “The equipment that we are now able to procure and install onboard our new teaching hospital ship, the Global Mercy, with the monies raised by hundreds of Rotary Clubs in the UK and overseas, will help to transform the lives of literally thousands of the world’s most poor and needy who would otherwise be without hope.

“Mercy Ships UK is privileged to be partnering once again with Rotary International. Ever since the first partnership with Rotary back in 2006, I have been truly amazed at the unwavering commitment and depth of interest of so many Rotarians in the life-changing surgical work of Mercy Ships.

“Thank you in advance on behalf of all those who you will have helped.”

The Global Mercy is undergoing the final stages of construction with the aim of sailing into active service by the end of 2021.



Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building, and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 55 developing countries, providing services valued at more than £1.2 billion and treating more than 2.7 million direct beneficiaries. Our ships are crewed by volunteers from over 50 nations, with an average of over 1,300 volunteers each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills. With 16 national offices and an Africa Bureau, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information click on www.mercyships.org.uk



Rotary is one of the world’s leading membership and humanitarian service organisations, with 1.2 million members globally. Members of Rotary volunteer their time to make a difference in their local communities and around the world through projects which support education, fight disease, promote peace, provide clean water and much more.

The Rotary Foundation is Rotary’s own and only charity. Founded more than 100 years, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion in life-changing, sustainable projects in the form of grants.

In Great Britain and Ireland Rotary has 45,000 members in more than 1,700 clubs, all dedicated to serving their local area through service projects and community events. For more information and to get involved with Rotary visit www.rotarygbi.org