The world’s largest charity hospital ship has launched an appeal to raise funds for three Land Rovers which are essential for transporting volunteer medical crews and patients around West Africa. Run by the international charity Mercy Ships, the Africa Mercy urgently needs to replace three Land Rovers that enable the charity to provide medical screenings, identify patients and conduct off-ship programmes in the countries the ship visits.
 
Currently in Togo, the Africa Mercy provides free medical care and humanitarian aid to the poorest people of West Africa.  Most countries in this area have unpaved roads full of potholes making Land Rovers a necessity for the charity.
 
The ship requires more than 25 safe, reliable, all-terrain vehicles at any one time, enabling its volunteer medical crews and land-based teams to travel around the West African countries it serves.
 
Judy Polkinhorn, Executive Director of Mercy Ships UK, said, “These vehicles are essential for us to carry out our work in West Africa especially during and after the rainy season when there seems to be more water than road!
 
“We are extremely grateful to the Wolfson Foundation which has generously contributed funds towards one of the vehicles and we are hoping that others will also help support our appeal.  It is essential for our teams to be able to reach patients from around the country we are visiting and for us to be able to contribute to land-based programmes outwith the immediate vicinity of the ship.
 
Paul Ramsbottom Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: “In making this award, we recognised both the remarkable work that Mercy Ships undertakes for some of the poorest people in the world and their urgent need for vehicles. The work of Mercy Ships ‘off ship’ is increasingly important – and I know from my own experience of West Africa that robust and reliable transport is crucially important. We would encourage others to join us in supporting this important initiative.”
 
The Africa Mercy has six operating theatres, a laboratory, pharmacy, a 78-bed ward and an outpatient clinic and is staffed by up to 400 volunteers from 40 nations at any one time.
 
It is staffed by an international crew of dedicated volunteers from over 40 nations ranging from seamen, engineers, surgeons, doctors and nurses.  The surgeons onboard perform operations, such as cleft lip and palate, cataract and crossed eye corrections, facial reconstructions, club feet and dental treatments, on children and adults.
 
Over the last 32 years, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at £530million and impacting about 2.9million people.
For more information on Mercy Ships please visit www.mercyships.org.uk or call 01438 727800.