2019 marks the second time that the Port of Dakar has welcomed a Mercy Ship to its shore. This time it is the Africa Mercy.

The Africa Mercy is the largest charity-run hospital ship in the world, delivering free, safe surgical care. This floating hospital is staffed by over 400 volunteers, who give their expertise for free to help treat dental and eye problems, cleft lips and palates, tumours, club feet, childbirth injuries, burns and a variety of other conditions.

During the Africa Mercy’s 10-month stay in the port of Dakar, Mercy Ships plans to provide 1,200 to 1,700 life-changing surgeries onboard, to treat over 4,000 at a land-based dental clinic as well as providing healthcare training to local medical professionals. All of this will be provided at no cost to the recipients and will help to improve the healthcare provision in Senegal long after the ship leaves port.

Senegal is one of the most politically stable countries in West Africa and has a steadily improving economy. However, despite this, the country still ranks 164 on the UN’s Human Development Index and in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 93% of the population do not have access to safe, affordable surgery.

Among the challenges faced by the 14 million residents of Senegal are malaria, widespread poverty and a high child mortality rate.

Returning after 23 years, we are excited to support Senegal's growing healthcare system through partnership, training, and free surgeries for many people who live in remote locations.

Mercy Ships doesn’t just deliver medical services. We believe in driving sustainable change in every country we are invited to visit.

We train local healthcare professionals. By the end of our field service in Senegal, Mercy Ships plans to provide: 

  • A paediatric anaesthesia course for nearly 100 local professionals
  • Primary Trauma Care training to up to 80 people
  • Run courses in regional hospitals outside of the capital Dakar to improve skills and share new medical techniques nationally across Senegal
  • Run three weeks of surgical skills courses for local surgical residents
  • Provide a pain management course to up to 96 physicians and nurses and help them implement the Pain Management Protocol in their local facilities.
  • Run three ‘Training of Trainers’ courses so that the professionals we train can share their new skills with their colleagues.

We also mentor maxillofacial teams, surgeons, surgical nurses, anaesthesia providers and sterile processing staff. Mercy Ships also runs a nutritional agriculture training course.

In addition to leaving a long-term legacy of change, Mercy Ships plans to ease the backlog of surgical cases by:

  • Providing surgeries for up to 1350 patients onboard the Africa Mercy, including up to 55 paediatric surgeries
  • Evaluate and treat between 2000 and 3000 patients for eye conditions and diseases.

Give a gift today to support our work in Senegal and beyond.