A global charity operating hospital ships in developing nations since 1978, we bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor by serving all people without regard for race, gender, or religion. Long-term and short-term volunteer opportunities typically fill service or specialized medical or technical positions.
Many people in Africa have little or no access to healthcare. There are only 2.5 physicians per 10,000 people in Africa, compared to 25 physicians per 10,000 in the U.S. So the Africa Mercy brings volunteer medical teams and sterile operating rooms directly to people who would otherwise go without care.
Over 50% of the population lives within 100 miles of the coast. Many nations lack clean water, reliable electricity, medical facilities and personnel. Our ships deliver a state-of-the-art hospital to port cities, providing a controlled, safe and clean environment for patients—and volunteers.
Mercy Ships began sailing on our mission to provide hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor in 1978. Each year, we’ve been able to reach more people to provide life-changing surgeries.
In 2016, 1,551 life-changing surgeries were performed, as well 22,466 dental procedures. Over 6,900 medical consultations were made, and over 1,700 local African healthcare professional were trained. Every port brings new challenges, new successes—and new lives transformed forever.
At any given time during its nearly 40-year history, Mercy Ships has had between 1 and 3 ships in service. Currently, the Africa Mercy is the only Mercy Ship in service, but it represents greater capacity than all prior hospital ships combined. Since the deployment of the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships has been committed to adding another ship to the fleet.
It’s the world’s largest civilian hospital ship providing state-of-the-art care to those in desperate need—free of charge.