“Every human being has the right to look human. To be treated as human. To have a place at the table of the human race,” states Dr. Gary Parker, Chief Medical Officer of Africa Mercy. “And when you have been deprived that seat, and it’s offered to you again . . . to be able to re-enter the human race and to look like everyone else . . . that’s a fantastic thing.” Dr. Parker is referring to Sambany, a Malagasy man who lived for 36 years with a head tumor weighing  7.46 kg (16.45 lbs) by the time he was operated on board the ship.

Mercy Ships is an international charity founded in 1978 that has been using floating hospitals to deliver easy access to medical care. Its current focus is on Africa, where it operates the largest non-governmental floating hospital ship in the world, Africa Mercy. The ship has been in Toamasina (Tamatave), Republic of Madagascar since October of 2014 and has been asked to remain there until mid-2016.

The Africa Mercy provides free health care, community health education, mental health programs and palliative care for terminally ill patients. In addition it offers training courses for Malagasy medical professionals in dental, basic surgical skills, and safe obstetric anesthesia. The ship has five operating theatres, an intensive care unit and 82 hospital beds onboard.

With self-generated power and the highest quality standards, the ship can carry out complicated hospital operations onboard – making it unnecessary for patients to be transferred to a Western hospital. Highly qualified surgeons, dentists, ophthalmologists and professionals from all disciplines work as volunteers and make it possible for people treated onboard the ship to enjoy a new lease on life. .

Few are able to serve in this manner, but Africa Mercy asks all of us: “Pray for (and sending blessings is a form of prayer) those countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which are beginning to put in place leaders who will work to bring about much-needed change.”

Mercy Ships is financed through the labour of unpaid volunteers, as well as by donations from private individuals, foundations and companies

Source of this summary, and for more information:  http://www.mercyships.ch/news/press-and-media.html and http://www.mercyships.org/