Hospital Ship Africa Mercy® Undergoes Repairs And Upgrades To Revolutionize Healthcare Delivery

The Africa Mercy, one of the hospital ships of Mercy Ships (www.MercyShips.org), has docked in Durban to undergo extensive repairs and maintenance to prolong its service life. Over the next seven months, as part of the refit project, the Africa Mercy will undergo a wide range of repairs and upgrades that will significantly improve the ship’s capabilities and elevate the quality of her services.

A key highlight of Africa Mercy’s refurbishment process is the information technology (IT) upgrade, which will notably enhance the ship’s functionality and performance within her operating theatres.

This advanced IT platform will enable seamless communication and coordination between the Africa Mercy and Mercy Ship’s latest hospital ship, the Global Mercy™. Moreover, it will support the provision of essential training for local doctors, fostering the development of in-country healthcare professionals. These improvements will enable faster and more efficient information exchange, ultimately optimizing the delivery of vital services.

Hospital Ship Africa Mercy® Undergoes Extensive Repairs
Hospital Ship Africa Mercy® Undergoes Extensive Repairs and Upgrades to Revolutionize Healthcare Delivery, Credits: Mercy Ships

Following its voyage from Senegal, the Africa Mercy will remain in South Africa for the remainder of this year, with a planned stop in East London before resuming active service in January 2024.

Brenda van Straten, Director, Mercy Ships, South Africa, says:

“We believe every life deserves access to quality healthcare, regardless of geographical location. The ‘Africa Mercy refit project’ is a testament to our unwavering commitment to extending the reach of our medical services and positively impacting the lives of thousands. Through this project, we are not only upgrading a ship; we are opening doors to hope, healing, and a brighter future for those in need.

“The upgrade will also allow us to continue our program delivery, improving the working and living conditions of our dedicated volunteers, and optimize the ship’s operational efficiency and future maintenance costs. Durban has been selected as the location for the ship’s infrastructure upgrade due to our successful collaboration with the DORMAC shipyard in the past. The quality of their work, especially in the ship’s interior, a vital aspect of this project, has greatly impressed us. Additionally, Durban’s proximity to our next destination, Madagascar, played a pivotal role in our decision-making process.”

The data infrastructure upgrade and replacement of the current failing phone system will effectively resolve the connectivity and communication issues previously endured by the ship’s crew. The refit project will dramatically improve overall communication on the ship, enabling the swift and efficient exchange of important information and messaging.

The refit project encompasses an array of improvements to ensure the ship’s continued operation and enhance the experience of both volunteers and patients. The project includes modernizing the galley, upgrading the elevator system, and remodeling several cabin spaces. These modifications will enhance safety and functionality, creating an environment that fosters community and healing. The project also increases the likelihood of reaching more individuals in need of healthcare.

To ensure the success of the upgrade, Mercy Ships has assembled a team of renowned contractors and vendors from around the world, including South African companies such as DORMAC, Bradgary, MLQ, MAN Energy Solutions, AEGIR-Marine, and Loewe-Marine.

Chris Sparg, Managing Director, DORMAC Marine & Engineering, says:

“The Africa Mercy upgrades, resulting from meticulous planning by Mercy Ships’ technical teams in collaboration with DORMAC, MLQ, and Bradgary, involved several ship visits to ensure detailed designs were completed. The one-month drydocking, complying with Classification Society rules, saw numerous upgrades.

“Working with Mercy Ships’ experienced technical professionals was a pleasure as they deeply understand the ship and organizational needs. Our teams are proud to support Mercy Ships, positively affecting lives in Africa. With a long-standing association, DORMAC is grateful to its partners MLQ and Bradgary for world-class accommodation upgrades. We pledge our full support to Mercy Ships as the Africa Mercy continues its crucial services in nearby waters.”

The Africa Mercy refit project is part of a broader five-year initiative. Upon completion of the refit, the Africa Mercy, in conjunction with the purpose-built Global Mercy, will significantly expand Mercy Ships’ capacity to provide life-changing surgeries. By utilizing these two ships, Mercy Ships aims to more than double its current reach and effectiveness in improving healthcare worldwide.

In parallel with the ship’s refurbishment, Mercy Ships will conduct eight Safer Anesthetics From Education (SAFE) courses in South Africa this year. These courses aim to enhance the skills and knowledge of healthcare professionals and improve the safety of anesthetic care in the region. Furthermore, the organization will continue to provide volunteer opportunities to South Africans who wish to contribute to Mercy Ships’ humanitarian efforts.

Mercy Ships has a history of providing valuable medical services in South Africa. In 1997/98, the organization conducted a field service in East London, administering medical treatments to South Africans in need. In 2010, Mercy Ships offered dental care, eye surgery, and a mental health course in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). These initiatives reflect the commitment to improving the health and well-being of individuals in South Africa and highlight the impact of these program on local communities.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Mercy Ships.

Press Release

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