Global access to surgical care
Two-thirds of the world’s population, about 5 billion people, do not have access to surgical procedures.
Annual number of deaths due to lack of surgical care
16.9 million people
Annual number of deaths from HIV/AIDS
1.46 million people
Number of beneficiary countries (2020-2021)
14 Countries in which projects were implemented or supported
Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Congo, South Africa, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Cameroon, Niger

Off-Ship Activities

What we do, when the hospital ship is not nearby

Mercy Ships was created over 40 years ago in order to provide an answer to the need for medical, foremostly surgical, treatment in developing countries. The founders had a clear concept that hospital ships would be the ideal instruments to bring hope and healing to the countries we serve.

Our scope has increased and, today, not all of our activities in Africa are dependent on a hospital ship mooring nearby. Over recent years, we have developed a strategy based on “Country Engagement Plans” that enable us to be active in more than one place; with smaller projects adapted to the specific needs of specific places, according to the requests of our friends and partners in various African countries. It is really gratifying to be able to tell our long-time friends and partners: “Yes, we are coming!”

Diverse and targeted support

Our Country Engagement Plans focus on three pillars:
1. Direct Medical Services,
2. Medical capacity building, and
3. Health systems relationship building.

The field of “Direct Medical services” (= our surgical operations) almost always relies on the presence of our ships and their state-of-the-art hospital infrastructure (the only exception to this is when Mercy Ships volunteer surgery teams operate in the clinics of our partners across Africa). However, “Medical capacity building” and “Health systems relationship building” can thrive independently.

Even during the pandemic

The pandemic has shown that this strategy brings an additional advantage: with smaller and sustainable projects in the area of Medical Capacity Building, we can switch to online or hybrid forms to deploy our teaching, mentoring, etc. and thus adapt to the situation in case of impending travel restrictions, etc.

Currently, Mercy Ships is at work in 8 countries all over Africa – even in land-locked countries like Niger and Uganda.

Action in Africa

Your gift transforms lives in Africa.

Some moving stories from our surgical patients​

Story of Umu

Story of Umu

“I was afraid to see the tumor on her face,” Yei remembered about the day she gave birth and saw Umu for the first time.

Story of Samba

Story of Samba

After enduring 56 years of hardship and exclusion, a mere two hours proved transformative, radically reshaping Samba’s life and bestowing upon him a newfound sense of dignity.

Story of Astou

Story of Astou

Two surgeries​ for Astou Meet Astou. Her life has had shadows of pain. When she was 20 years old, she lost her son during childbirth, but that wasn’t the only tragedy that occurred. In addition