Field service in Senegal is currently suspended

19 March 2020

The coronavirus is causing unprecedented challenges. Strict, consistent and radical measures must be taken. We see unsettling images. Our lives are subject to increasing limitations. No one can escape them. Our mission in Senegal is no exception either.

Due to the current situation of COVID-19, WHO recommendations and the resulting increase in travel restrictions, it has become difficult for Mercy Ships to carry out its programs to the required standards, while avoiding to contribute to the spread of the virus.

Therefore, in line with the measures taken by the President of Senegal with the Ministry of Health, Mercy Ships has reviewed the activities associated with the Africa Mercy and has decided to suspend the programmatic operations of our mission in Senegal.

The main concerns of Mercy Ships are the health of the Senegalese people and the safety and well-being of our own volunteers, crew and staff worldwide. Following the suspension of our field service in Dakar, we are presently considering alternative ports for the Africa Mercy.
Annually the vessel undergoes routine maintenance and we currently are assessing how we can accelerate the commencement of that work. This would enable us to bring the Africa Mercy back to Africa once the immediate crises is over and continue our mission to bring Hope and Healing to the forgotten poor. Mercy Ships is also evaluating how the organization, given certain operational limitations, can be utilized to assist in the global COVID-19 response.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 Mercy Ships has focused on three main actions:

  1. Looking after the patients under our care, including development of plans for the completion of their treatments in partnership with local healthcare services in Senegal.
  2. Caring for our crew members, our local volunteers in Dakar and our staff globally by following the infection control practices according to best public health guidance from the CDC and WHO. Most of the Swiss nationals who volunteered on board have been repatriated; four of them remain on board to help ensure the well-being of the reduced crew and the smooth running of the ship during possible sailing.
  3. Adapting our longer term plans to fulfill our mission to provide surgical care and medical capacity training.

Mercy Ships in Switzerland

Our team in Switzerland is still at your service. However, the offices in Belp and Lausanne are closed. All our employees work from home and can be reached via professional email addresses and telephone numbers.

You can still contact us by phone or email:

In these challenging days for all of us, we are all called to cooperate for the well-being of our fellow citizens. Our thoughts and encouragement go out to all those who work in healthcare, whether in Switzerland or elsewhere in the world. We are grateful for their dedication!

Well-functioning healthcare system are essential

For more than 40 years, Mercy Ships has focused on bringing Hope and Healing to those who lack access to surgical care. For the past 30 years, we have concentrated our efforts in Africa. During those three decades, we have worked to strengthen local healthcare systems while at the same time providing free life-changing surgery to the people who need it most. We are encouraged by all the stories of the patients we served and by training local healthcare professionals. We are eager to do even more in the future with your support.

We thank you for your support, whether in prayer, financially or as volunteers. Only together with you can we bring hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor!