World Health Day 2021: Working together to build sustainable healthcare systems

World Health Day 2021: Working together to build sustainable healthcare systems

World Health Day on April 7 marks the start of a global campaign by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that will strike a chord with every Mercy Ships supporter.

Building a fairer, healthier world for everyone is at the very core of what the charity, our supporters and our partners are striving to do.



For more than 40 years, our supporters have worked against the global surgery crisis and provided life-saving and life-changing care to those who would otherwise lack access.

The dream of a healthier, fairer world ignited Mercy Ships — and it continues to guide us forward with your help.

Mercy Ships UK Chief Executive Officer Joanne Balaam said, “The highest standard of medical and surgical care is a fundamental right of every human being on this planet – no matter what their background. With our supporters’ help, we try to bridge the gap in a world full of inequalities to get critical care to those who need it the most.”

Lasting Legacy

Joanne said, “This not only has a life-changing impact on the individuals we treat but whole communities. But it’s so much more than just surgery. Thanks to our supporters, we also leave a lasting legacy through mentoring and training to ensure doctors and medical professionals can continue to strengthen their healthcare infrastructure themselves, building their future resilience.”

This is done through the Mercy Ships Medical Capacity Building (MCB) programmes. They partner with governments, hospitals, and medical professionals in the African nations to make existing healthcare systems that much stronger.

Lucy Quist, Mercy Ships international board member and the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Morgan Stanley, understands the vitality of this vision. She’s written and published a book called The Bold New Normal: Creating The Africa Where Everyone Prospers.

For Lucy, free surgery isn’t the finish line – it’s just the beginning.

“Before they get surgery, a patient’s day-to-day life is really about survival,” she said.

“Many of these surgeries are critical. Their life is about not dying, not getting sick from another disease, not working, relying on others for help, trying to survive day to day. By having this surgical intervention, they have a real chance at thriving. Some people have surgery and can now go to school; go to work; look after their families.

“Really, an intervention isn’t just life-changing because their body changes. Their whole life changes. Suddenly, they can become a functioning member of their community and make a real contribution, as opposed to being dependent.”

Doubling the Impact with a New Purpose-Built Ship

In addition to providing training and mentoring programs, we strive to make an impact in Africa through our hospital ships.

The Global Mercy, our newest vessel, is on its way to being fully equipped to join our flagship, the Africa Mercy.

As both a floating hospital and a floating training center with a state-of-the-art simulation lab, the Global Mercy will blend surgery and training in an unprecedented way. As a result, Mercy Ships will be able to share hope like never before.

“The world has had a hard time in 2020,” said Lucy. “The need remains great and is perhaps even greater after the pandemic. Now, Mercy Ships is doubling down. By God’s grace, Mercy Ships is going to do more than we usually do.”

Together, we can share hope of a healthier, fairer world. Together, we can transform healthcare systems on an individual and community level.

Together, this is only the beginning, there is hope on the horizon.

Want to join us in sharing hope and transforming lives? Join the Mercy Ships family today!