MSC Group, MSC Foundation & Mercy Ships To Build Hospital Ship For Free Medical Treatment In Africa

Mercy Ship
Screengrab from YouTube video posted by Mercy Ships NZ

A path-breaking deal between MSC Foundation, MSC Group, and the charity Mercy Ships International readies for building a purpose-built hospital vessel that will provide free surgery and training yearly to thousands of African individuals.

On 8 April, the chair of MSC Group and MSC Foundation, Captain Gianluigi Aponte, Diego Aponte, the MSC Group President and a Member of the MSC Foundation Board, and Don Stephens — Mercy Ships Founder, finalized a pact to kickstart the project with an anchor donation from MSC Foundation, echoing the visionary leaders’ devotion to supporting access to essential healthcare for future generations.

Capt. Aponte, the founder of the MSC Group, recalled spending part of his early years and childhood in the shipping industry in the Horn of Africa, a region close to his heart.

Aponte witnessed the challenges that many local communities encountered firsthand.

The experience shaped his conviction that enhancing healthcare availability would have a lasting impact on them.

Collaborating with Don and offering crucial support through his organization, Mercy Ships, has been gratifying.

He also mentioned that the collaboration has reaped incredible results, and they are on the verge of expanding the fleet to strengthen this support.

Aponte looks forward to seeing this new vessel set sail to aid more African communities.

Since Mercy Ships was founded in 1978, the organization has offered over 117,000 transformational specialized surgical methods.

The surgeries encompass maxillofacial reconstructions, contracture release for intense burns, corrections for orthopaedic issues in children, cleft lip repair, palate repair, ophthalmology and dental services.

Mercy Ships, a non-governmental body, is committed to increasing the capacities of the local healthcare systems via sustainably designed surgical training, education, and advocacy missions.

Mercy Ships has also offered additional training to more than 54,300 local professionals in their respective areas of expertise.

Expanding its fleet with a new purpose-built hospital vessel, designed to have specifications similar to those of the Global Mercy™ and focus on training spaces, will permit Mercy Ships to expand its capacity to work with the host nations to facilitate advocacy and training efforts.

The necessity to speed up access to surgical care and education in sub-Saharan Africa stays apparent.


Video Credits: Mercy Ships NZ/YouTube

VP Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh of Sierra Leone, in his welcome speech at the West African College of Surgeons conference in Freetown, expressed that the nation grapples with about 91% unmet surgical needs.

He highlighted the progress and urged more holistic collaborative efforts to tackle the surgical deficits.

Don Stephens, the founder of Mercy Ships, spoke of Mercy Ships’ vision for serving African nations with secure surgical care and education.

The new vessel will improve the investment of several worldwide towards a fleet of hospital vessels.

Mercy Ships’ mission is to bring hope and healing, which is possible through the generosity of partners, volunteer crew members, and God’s provision. He expressed gratitude to MSC for the support.

Operating hospital vessels involves transporting enormous quantities of essential supplies across the seas and oceans to support surgical and training activities.

Mercy Ships and MSC have been collaborating since 2011, with the MSC Group providing logistical support and container delivery of supplies to the ports of service.

The infrastructure and logistical know-how extended by the African teams involves MSC’s local shipping agency to MSC and TiL terminals, taking care of cargo to MSC and MEDLOG storage, logistics, and inland transportation facilities.

Besides this, MSC has provided comprehensive tech advice and experience to prepare for the new vessel, collaborating with Mercy Ships to develop a design that will enhance efficiency for organizational necessities.

The new vessel will have living spaces to accommodate approximately 600 crew members and guests.

Its hospital will boast two decks and 7,000 sq. meters, featuring six operating rooms, an equipped laboratory, and next-gen training spaces like a simulation lab.

This makes it plausible for Mercy Ships to bolster local surgical systems at port, especially a 10-month field service.

The Executive Director of MSC Foundation expressed that they are immensely proud of the grant-making and in-kind donations in support of Mercy Ships, as well as the life-changing effects that their free services and training are having on 18,000 medical professionals, 30,300 patients of varying ages, and community leaders through 33,200 surgeries since 2011.

Reference: Mercy Ships

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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