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Hospital ship to commence free life-changing surgeries for selected patients in Madagascar

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More than 120 community leaders, dignitaries and other guests gathered on board the hospital ship, the Africa Mercy® (May 15th) to celebrate the imminent start of international charity Mercy Ships’ (www.MercyShips.org) impactful surgical interventions in Madagascar.

After extensive preparations for the hospital’s launch, attendees including the Mayor of Toamasina, Nantenaina Rakotonirina, Interim Governor of Atsinanana, Bemahefa Gervais and the Representative of Public Health of Atsinanana, Razafiariosoa Celestine Vavy, were excited to go on board. An international delegation from Mercy Ships traveled to the dock to witness the landmark moment. 

Since arriving in the country in February, the Africa Mercy implemented an extensive strategy to ensure the broad reach of its services, covering diverse regions within Madagascar. With registrations spanning 12 locations across the country. This marks Mercy Ships’ fourth field service in Madagascar, following previous visits in 1996, 2015 and 2016. Over the course of previous visits, Mercy Ships collaborated with the government and Ministry of Health to provide more than 6,425 life-changing surgical procedures and over 52,395 dental procedures. In addition to these surgeries, Mercy Ships has a longstanding commitment to education, having trained 2,019 healthcare professionals in the past.   

Mrs. Razafiarisoa Celestine added: “The partnership with the government is crucial as it addresses gaps the government cannot fill, whether financial or temporal. Mercy Ships bridges these gaps, embodying a public-private partnership between the Malagasy government and Mercy Ships. They provide indispensable help, especially for those in dire need. This partnership is invaluable and highly complementary to the efforts of the Malagasy government.”

Through an education, training, and advocacy strategy, the organization, in collaboration with Madagascar’s Ministry of Health, aims to increase the number of surgical providers, deliver training across the surgical ecosystem, develop sustainable educational programs, establish a network of healthcare providers, and advocate for the importance of surgery in healthcare globally.   

Dr. Toky Rafanomezantsoa, said: “I am delighted that the ship is here to serve the Malagasy population and provide high-quality surgical interventions free of charge. This ship is well-equipped, and the staff, who are volunteers from around the world, are highly trained. We are privileged to receive the quality they can offer.  Malagasy medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and medical students, will benefit from the training and experiences shared with the ship’s staff and the equipment it carries.” 

In just two weeks from the gathering on board, patients will begin boarding the ship docked in Toamasina to receive life-changing surgeries.

The Africa Mercy Managing Director Nathan Jansen said: “We are excited to provide more than 1,000 surgeries and train more than 40 Malagasy medical professionals on board. We will be working with in country partnerships to train and equip medical professionals across the nation.  We have had a joyous time revisiting some former patients since our arrival in February and seeing how surgery has transformed their lives. We are also seeing professors that are still teaching the simulation courses that were initiated by Mercy Ships, and seeing the interns that are still benefiting from this.”

Hospital Director of the Africa Mercy, Merryl Mackenzie, has achieved, together with her team, an impressive feat of installing brand new medical equipment. “We cannot wait to see the impact this field service will have on transforming lives in Madagascar and increasing access to surgical care and education.” 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Mercy Ships.

For more Information about Mercy Ships, contact:
Sophie Barnett
Mercy Ships International PR Manager
sophie.barnett@mercyships.org

Social Media: 
Twitter: https://apo-opa.co/3QNL5cE

ABOUT MERCY SHIPS:  
Mercy Ships operates hospital ships that deliver free surgeries and other healthcare services to those with little access to safe medical care. An international faith-based organization, Mercy Ships has focused entirely on partnering with African nations for the past three decades. Working with in-country partners, Mercy Ships also provides training to local healthcare professionals and supports the construction of in-country medical infrastructure to leave a lasting impact.   
Each year, more than 3,000 volunteer professionals from over 60 countries serve on board the world’s two largest non-governmental hospital ships, the Africa Mercy® and the Global Mercy™. Professionals such as surgeons, dentists, nurses, health trainers, cooks, and engineers dedicate their time and skills to accelerate access to safe surgical, obstetric and anesthetic care. Mercy Ships was founded in 1978 and has offices in 16 countries as well as an Africa Service Center in Dakar, Senegal. For more information, visit www.MercyShips.org and follow MercyShips on social media (https://apo-opa.co/3QNL5cE).  

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