At the Mercy Ships Hope Centre in Tamatave, Madagascar just a few days ago there was a party. It was a goodbye party so it was a happy event; especially for those who could celebrate how their free surgery on board the Africa Mercy restored their health, but at the same time a Little bit sad as many said goodbye to new friends they would probably never see again.
The hospital ship Africa Mercy has now left Madagascar on its way to South Africa where it will spend a couple of months carrying out maintenance work on the ship, servicing and updating medical equipment and give the 400+ crew a bit of a break before they return to Tamatave, and the Hope Centre opens its doors once again for another 10 months.
The Hope Centre is very important because even though the ship has 82 hospital beds, they are just not enough to handle all the patients from the 5 operating theatres who have long recovery periods after the more complex surgeries the ship is doing these days. So as soon as the patients no longer require nursing care 24/7 they are moved to the Hope Centre where they have daily check-ups and are able to complete their recovery in a safe pleasant environment.
This time next year when Africa Mercy leaves Tamatave and probably won’t return for a number of years the Hope Centre will NOT close its doors, but instead will be transformed into Madagascar’s first obstetric fistula clinic, which will provide free surgeries for thousands of women who suffer from this crippling condition.