Ever heard of Africa’s floating clinic? It is hospital ship called the Africa Mercy.
Records say that the ship belongs to a charity organization. It was donated in 1999 by the Balcraig Foundation.
Africa Mercy is the largest non-governmental hospital ship as well as the largest civilian hospital ship in the world. In 2007, the ship made its official maiden voyage to Monrovia, Liberia, from the shipyard in England
At a final cost of over $62 million, the former Danish rail ferry was transformed into the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world. It used to be called Droning Ingrid till it was re-named the Africa Mercy in April 2000.
Did you know that the Hospital ship physicians consult with pathologists in the U.S. via satellite communications?
The “Africa Mercy” is in Cotonou, Benin, where the ship will remain from August, 2016 until June, 2017.
It has modern hospital facilities like- 5 Operating theaters, an Intensive Care Unit, an ophthalmic unit, laboratories, and a recovery ward which could accommodate 82 patients.
It also has a CT scanner and x-ray equipment.
Courtesy of Dr. Leo Cheng, who carries out about 2-3 operations a day, the Mercy ship is currently equipped with GE Healthcare’s Vscan with Dual Probe – a pocket-sized ultrasound that allows easy visualization of internal organs.
The Vscan has made work a lot easier for the volunteer doctors on board. It even works without being connected to electricity.
“The Vscan with Dual Probe can be used in clinical situations without the need of connecting it to a main electricity supply.”
“On the Africa Mercy, we used it for intravenous access, scanning lumps on the face, and to help us identify exactly where to inject a nerve block. Without this type of equipment, clinicians like us would not be able to do this safely.”- Dr. Cheng.
Africa Mercy, which weighs about 16,572 tons, has medical volunteers from 45 countries across the world. The idea behind the hospital ship is to reach the commonly less accessible areas.
Africa Mercy traveled to Tamatave, Madagascar, early this year. Report says that over 90% of the population there live in abject poverty.
The best part of this initiative is that it rekindles hope to Africans who have been abandoned by the society because of their infirmities.
While speaking, Dr Cheng said:
“So many of the patients I meet on board are trapped behind their facial tumours and from my experience, the healing process begins when you show them a bit of human contact and acceptance.”
“Seeing the tremendous joy and happiness that overcomes the patient once their tumour or deformity is removed is such a special moment to witness.”