SENEGAL WELCOMES MERCY SHIPS WITH OPEN ARMS
A handful of Kiwis were amongst the crew vigorously waving flags from the ship’s deck as the Africa Mercy arrived in Dakar, Senegal for the vessel’s first field service; the former flagship Anastasis served here in 1993. This nation 3/4 the size of New Zealand with 3 times our population. It is one of the most stable democracies in Africa with a long history of peacekeeping, but the population struggles at the lowest end of the UN Human Development Index which measures the quality of life.
Senegal borders The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Mauritania. Senegalese people are 96% Muslim, and speak French, Wolof and many other dialects (we need lots of translators!)
More than 40 New Zealanders will volunteers their skills and expertise in medical, maritime and operational roles in Senegal over the next 10 months, helping to provide essential surgery for the nation’s poor.
Why Mercy Ships is in Senegal
The Senegalese people
- Have 7 physicians per 100,000, compared to NZ’s 285 per 100,000
- Live in multidimensional poverty at 164/189 in the UN Human Development Index
- Lose their children to infant mortality 10x more often than in NZ
- Have a life expectancy of 60 (M) or 64 (F); 20 years less than Kiwis
- Typically earn $2,700 per year