Medical teams on board the world’s largest charity hospital ship have arrived in West Africa as they prepare to undertake their first surgeries onboard.
The Global Mercy arrived in the port of Dakar – midway between the mouths of the Senegal and Gambia rivers - on the 14th of February in preparation for the “landmark moment”.
The ship visited the port last year, training 260 Senegalese healthcare professionals, but was yet to be used as a fully-fledged hospital.
Now, doctors are set to provide life-saving surgeries to more than 800 people over the next five months.
According to the Lancet Commission, nine in ten people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not currently have access to safe surgery.
The Mercy Ships organisation has helped more than two million people across 55 countries since the ministry began in 1978.
The vessel is home to hundreds of volunteers and their families, including more than 50 British and Irish members of staff.
The latest vessel has space for 200 patients, six operating theatres, a laboratory, general outpatient clinics, dental and eye clinics, and training facilities.
Joanne Balaam, chief executive officer of Mercy Ships UK, said: “The Global Mercy welcoming its first patients onboard will be a landmark moment for all Mercy Ships supporters. This work is only made possible thanks to our dedicated volunteers and our generous supporters. Without your ongoing support, we would not be able to continue this truly life-changing work with so many patients, their families and communities.”