The world’s largest hospital mission ship has been used to treat its first patient.
Four-year-old Amadou, from Senegal, lived with a windswept leg and a bowed leg, meaning even the simplest tasks left him in agony.
At present, there are no fully-qualified orthopaedic surgeons in the country, but thanks to early intervention by surgeons on the new Global Mercy ship, Amadou’s conditions may be entirely corrected.
Mariatou, Amadou’s caregiver, said: “I am looking forward to seeing the boy walking normally, properly, to be normal, to be like the others. I will be happy for that. I am looking forward to seeing that happen.”
The surgery was completed by Dr Rachel Buckingham, from the Oxford University Trust, assisted by Andrew Wainwright – both are from the United Kingdom.
Speaking after the surgery, Dr Buckingham said: "Senegal does not yet have their own paediatric orthopaedic surgeon.
“What keeps me coming back is the need. It’s the ability to train local health care workers and make a difference.
“Mercy Ships really wants to do itself out of a job. You go into medicine to have an impact so here we have a massive impact."
Amadou is the first of 40 paediatric patients that will go aboard Global Mercy this month, and one in 800 that will receive free surgeries before August.
The boat is equipped to provide surgeries for a range of conditions, including: Maxillofacial, General, Pediatric Specialized General, Orthopedic, Reconstructive Plastics, and Ophthalmology.
During their time docked in Senegal, medical volunteers on board will also provide key training to Senegalese professionals.