Building medical capacity

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In order to build the surgical capacity of the nations we serve – from the grassroots to government – Mercy Ships provides courses, mentoring, infrastructure and donations of equipment in the fields we invest in. The courses include essential surgical skills (pigs trotters and leather stretched over flower pots are used to practice suturing), SAFE obstetric and paediatric anaesthesia, primary trauma care and essential pain management.

Additionally, professional mentoring includes these specialities:

World Health Organisation (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist

This To Do list for surgery saves hundreds of thousands of lives every year. ‘The Checklist’ involves teaching essential skills of surgical counting and safe anaesthesia and is being introduced to 30 hospitals that perform surgery across Cameroon.


The maintenance and smooth running of medical equipment is one of the greatest needs in developing nations, and often those people expected to achieve the impossible had previously had little training. Local biomedical technicians receive teaching and mentoring from the Mercy Ships biomedical technicians, and essential tools are donated for the biomed teams that attend the courses.

Sterile processingPonseti

How to effectively sterilise operating instruments in developing nation conditions is vital to safe surgery, and the importance of these skills is emphasised as part of the education of whole surgical teams in various hospitals




The non-invasive correction of clubfoot – one of the world’s most common birth defects – is taught to local physiotherapists by the Mercy Ships Ponseti team over the duration of the 10-month field service, leaving the local team competent to continue the service long after the ship has departed.

Agriculture training 

As consuming healthy food is a vital part of holistic health, malnutrition is targeted by 21-week  ‘train the trainer’  nutritional agriculture development courses, working with local NGO’s, groups and associations already working in this field. The aim to rebuild, restore and renew their lives, land, communities and the nation is achieved through a biblical-based agriculture development programme Food for Life.


Part of the Mercy Ships holistic approach to health, sometimes this requires transforming an entire health system. Each field service a building project is undertaken to leave as part of the physical legacy in the host nation. This will include hospital/clinic renovation, upgrades, construction, equipment donations and maintenance training.

During the Benin field service August 2015- June 2-16, 1,962 participants were trained and upskilled in these areas.