Cities in African countries, as well as others around the world, will soon be able to benefit from medical aid arriving by sea. Indeed, a large-scale ferry has been built by a Canadian NGO to help people in need of important medical care.
A long preparation
The Global Mercy saw its first metal plates go through a plasma cutter before being assembled in 2015, well before the arrival of the coronavirus health crisis. However, the latter has increased the need for medical aid in some nations, and so this ship will soon be adding to the world’s efforts to alleviate the most urgent trouble spots.
The main objective of the initiators of this project was to help countries in need by strengthening their medical capacity for a period of time. The African continent is particularly targeted by this programme, for the large coastal cities and other agglomerations overlooking the ocean or the sea. The Global Mercy is likely to be in great demand following its launch in July 2021.
The hospital ship has a large capacity to accommodate patients once it is in port. Nearly 1000 people will be able to be on board, including 641 crew members. The crew will be made up of volunteers from all over the world, who will travel the seas and oceans, supplementing each other along the way.
The ship contains six operating theatres, a laboratory, general outpatient services, 200 beds and a dedicated ward for ophthalmic and dental problems – needs that are often very common and unmet among disadvantaged populations.
Having been designed from the ground up, and not adapted from an old ferry, it will be the most suitable medical ship in the world. It will be the first in a line created by the international NGO Mercy Ships, which intends to continue to build other seagoing vessels in order to continue its international aid in the area of health needs.
The future of the Global Mercy
At the end of June, the ship will leave the shipyard in Tianjin Xingang, China, and head for the port of Antwerp. There the ship will be completed with its IT and medical equipment. The first destination of the ship will be sub-Saharan Africa in 2022, more precisely Dakar, Senegal, which will have the honour of being her first home port.