Wednesday 6 December 2017: This week marks an incredible milestone on board the floating hospital ship the Africa Mercy, currently docked in Cameroon.
Volunteer ophthalmic surgeon Dr. Glenn Strauss performed the 30,000th surgery on the ship – ten years after performing the very first surgery on board the Africa Mercy in 2007.
Mercy Ships, founded in 1978, has worked tirelessly to combat the global surgery crisis of 5 billion people without access to safe surgery.
“I could never have imagined when I did that first operation on the AFM in 2007, that now, 10 years later, I’d be doing the 30,000th case,” said Strauss.
“Not only that, but I’ve been privileged to train 47 ophthalmic surgeons who will provide tens of thousands more safe cataract surgeries in Africa and around the world.”
Dr. Strauss’ main goal has been to train ophthalmic surgeons as well as to provide the surgeries himself.
He teaches the revolutionary MSICS cataract technique (manual small-incision cataract surgery) which is a low-cost, small-incision form of extracapsular cataract extraction and is more easily multiplied in developing world settings.
“These milestones are the epitome of what Mercy Ships strives to do, and Dr. Strauss is truly the image of our volunteers, all of whom are dedicated and caring individuals who change lives every day, thousands of times over,” commented Don Stephens, President and Founder of Mercy Ships.
Since deployment 10 years ago, the Africa Mercy has docked in nine African countries for a total of 12 field services.
The surgical specialties offered in the ship’s state-of-the-art operating theatres include maxillofacial, plastic reconstructive, women’s health – including obstetric fistula, paediatric orthopaedics, general, and ophthalmic (adult and paediatric).
In addition to providing surgeries, the volunteers on the Mercy Ship also provided medical capacity building training courses attended by more than 7,800 African health care professionals.
By providing training for the health care professionals, Mercy Ships surgeons help to ensure that partner health care providers will be better equipped to care for their country and provide safer surgeries in Africa after the ship leaves.
About Mercy Ships
Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion, with more than 2.56 million direct beneficiaries. Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations serve with Mercy Ships. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. Mercy Ships Australia, one of 16 international support offices, is based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. For more information, visit www.mercyships.org.au
National Office Manager
Mercy Ships Australia
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International Media Manager
High resolution photos are available upon request, with attribution to Mercy Ships.