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Mercy Ships to strengthen surgical and health care capacity in Central Africa

By: Mercy Ships
Thursday, 5 September 2013, 10:32 (EST)
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Pointe Noire, Republic of the Congo - Volunteer surgeons onboard the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, began surgeries this week during the first-ever visit of a Mercy Ship to the Republic of the Congo, Central Africa.

In what Africa Mercy’s Managing Director Donovan Palmer described as the charity’s largest screening in more than 20 years in Africa, more than 7,350 people were lined up in early morning hours last Wednesday at Lycee Victor Augagneur, the local high school in Pointe Noire that served as this year’s Selection Day site.

By day’s end, the 311 crew allowed 4,236 potential patients through the gate. Of that number, 1,326 individuals were sent through by Mercy Ships screening nurses to receive appointment cards to be seen by a surgeon for surgery or further evaluation during the ship’s stay in the country.

"During the Africa Mercy’s 10-month stay in the port of Pointe Noire, Republic of the Congo, Mercy Ships plans to provide over 3,300 surgeries for adult and child patients onboard, to treat more than 20,000 at land-based dental and eye clinics renovated for the purpose, and to provide holistic health care education to over 240 Congolese health care professionals and 830 community leaders,” stated Mercy Ships President/Founder Don Stephens, who was on-site for the screening.

Specifically, Mercy Ships’ Education Programs aim to impart knowledge and skills, while modeling and encouraging compassion and a professional work ethic. These efforts promote transformational development in the Congolese health sector.

Methods of instruction include one-on-one mentoring opportunities, internationally recognized courses for groups, and structured observation in the Africa Mercy hospital.

Additional screenings for patient selection will be held in the capital city of Brazzaville November 6th, in Oyo December 2nd, in Ouesso December 5th, Impfondo December 10th, and Dolisie in January 2014.

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