Why a ship – and why us?

Credit photo: Debra Bell: New Zealand crew Nina Pretorius-Ward nurse (pony tail) cares for her patients on the wardWith more than 75% of the world’s population living within 100 miles of a port city, taking the world’s largest civilian hospital ship directly to the point of need, to people who would otherwise go without care, is a logical strategy to alleviating human suffering.

Taking a state-of-the-art, fully equipped and staffed, self-sufficient hospital into areas of extreme poverty means we can provide first class medical care in the midst of desperate conditions.

In the poorest parts of Africa, children suffer and die from treatable causes. Mercy Ships sails into these regions to provide first-rate medical care that saves lives.

Our volunteer medical teams remove tumours, give sight to the blind, correct clefts, fix fractures and more. Over 74,000 free surgeries have been performed for people in poverty since 1978.

Mercy Ships' core values reflect a belief that every individual is made in the image of God, and worthy of a helping hand to alleviate their suffering.

Vital healthcare, life-changing surgeries

Almost half of Africa's people have no access to a doctor or a hospital, or even to basic healthcare. Behind this overwhelming tide of human need are the heartbreaking individual stories of children, the faces of women, the names of men and their families who are in crisis from preventable disease, untreated illnesses and neglected injuries. What in the developed nations would be a minor toothache or a tiny cut, under impoverished conditions becomes a life-threatening problem.

Mercy Ships' volunteers and partners are committed to push back the tide of hopelessness and needless suffering through relentless generosity and healthcare service. For more than 35 years Mercy Ships has been bringing hope and healing to the world's forgotten poor ...  one person, one community and one nation at a time.

Around the world today, millions of people live in fear, with impure water, inadequate food - and little or no access to healthcare. Behind every statistic is a person waiting for hope and healing. Mercy Ships exists to bring that hope and healing to the world's forgotten poor. Through our hospital ship, MV Africa Mercy, our volunteers from all walks of life, bring vital healthcare and life-changing surgeries to men, women and children suffering from treatable and preventable conditions.
Our volunteers can do this work thanks to the generosity of our donors who, like you give money, support, time and prayers helping Mercy Ships to make a real difference in the lives of so many. The video on this page gives a glimpse into the daily life of the Africa Mercy and the change this hospital ship brings to the lives of so many.