Angel Grist, from the Mercy Ships charity, told us how the international Christian organisation raises funds to operate hospital ships to sail to the world’s poorest countries to provide medical aid which isn’t available locally.
The current ship, Africa Mercy, is off the coast of West Africa at Benin at present for a ten month stay. The ship has a hospital deck with 82 beds and 5 operating theatres and its staff of 450 are self-funding volunteers from all over the world. They include people working in all areas of the ship such as a bank, school, canteen and shop as well as the highly trained medical team. Many of the volunteers use their holidays to help on board. In addition to the life saving operations and training for local doctors and nurses, the ships have a fleet of land rovers which travel overland to provide dental care, eye clinics and general community based medical care. They also fund building and agricultural training through a variety of outreach projects. More than 2.54 million people in the poorest countries of the world have had their lives transformed through the work of the charity.
Our speaker at the next meeting on 11 April will be a representative from the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, please do come along, you will be very welcome.