Only two other organisations had published a peer-reviewed supplement of this kind to the BMJ — the WHO and UNICEF.
The supplement comprised a collection of four peer-reviewed articles on the programmatic outcomes and distribution of patients accessing Mercy Ships services, covering these topics:
Overcoming challenges in implementing the WHO surgical safety checklist
Sterile processing capabilities for safe surgery in low and middle-income countries
Demographics/wealth index of the population and barriers to seeking care
The effect of transportation costs on surgical utilisation
A fifth paper, covering antibiotic resistance, was published subsequently, in March 2018.
All of the papers used case studies and research from Madagascar. The publication was celebrated at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, at an event that included a Q&A session – chaired by Mercy Ships UK Board member Anthony Dunnett – with Dr Michelle White and Dr Peter Linz, both of whom were heavily involved in the creation of the supplement.
By pulling together its research in this way, Mercy Ships can strengthen the quality and effectiveness of its programmes, while also providing useful information to host nations, other NGOs and the wider medical scientific community.