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Global Mercy visited Senegal in 2023 on its first surgical mission, after several previous visits by other Mercy Ships

Capital city



147,181 km²



38% of the population live below the poverty line of $2 per day

UN Development Index

170 out of 191

Population figures

16.88 million


Doctors per million inhabitants



Wolof, Pulaar, Serer and 30+ other languages,  and French

Mission in Senegal

Global Mercy's inaugural surgical field service was to Dakar

On Valentine’s Day – 14 February 2023 – the brand new, state-of-the-art hospital ship Global Mercy arrived in Dakar, Senegal, where she will serve two nations from a single port. Volunteers from Denmark have already joined the life-changing work on board.

Senegal is one of the most politically and economically stable countries in West Africa. But it still ranks ‘only’ 170th out of 191 on the UN Development Index. Some of the main challenges facing the people of Senegal are malaria, widespread poverty and high infant mortality rates. Therefore, it is particularly important to develop medical capacity to treat sick patients, as there is currently an acute shortage of medical personnel.

Globally, five billion children and adults do not have access to timely medical care. Of these, as many as 93% live in sub-Saharan Africa. This number is staggering and the consequences for the many people affected are enormous.

It is therefore not just any event that Mercy Ships’ state-of-the-art and newly built hospital ship, Global Mercy, dropped anchor in Dakar, Senegal on Valentine’s Day, 14 February. While the ship was in Senegal in 2022 to provide training to more than 260 local health professionals, this year is the first time that specialised surgeries will be performed on board. In other words, the ship will be able to provide its first-ever patients with life-changing treatments – and for the first time in Mercy Ships’ history, one of the organisation’s ships will also serve two nations from one port.

One port, two nations

“It is fantastic that Global Mercy, on the initiative of Senegalese President Macky Sall
Macky Sall’s initiative, Global Mercy can help people from both Senegal and The Gambia from the port of Dakar. It is a wonderful start for our new ship, which has very appropriately arrived in Dakar as a declaration of love on Valentine’s Day,” said Vibeke Hauge Førrisdahl and continued: “From the ship, people will receive free surgeries that will give them new chances in life, and in parallel we will train health workers so that we, together with our colleagues in Senegal and Gambia, can contribute to the sustainable development of local health systems.”

The Global Mercy, the world’s largest civilian hospital ship,
is specifically designed to be both a hospital and a training centre – with six operating theatres and state-of-the-art training facilities, such as a
simulation lab with virtual reality, training mannequins and other modern training tools.

Senegal has been visited by Mercy Ships in 1996 and again in 2019-2023 (the visit was interrupted for 20 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic). The Global Mercy will sail in summer 2023 to the next country, Sierra Leone, with life-changing aid.

Where do we impact the population in Africa?

Mercy Ships increases access to health care around the world. Working with qualified local and international partners, Mercy Ships programmes offer global support to developing countries, seeking to make health care accessible to all.


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