If you can remember back to nearly two years ago, when Mercy Ships arrived in the port of Madagascar, what was then a dilapidated and worn down structure was converted into a functional multipurpose facility. What we refer to as the HOPE center (Hospital Out-Patient Extension center) has provided accommodations for patients and caregivers, in preparation for and recuperating from surgery, on the Africa Mercy. During the hundreds of surgeries that were performed, the HOPE center offered a safe, clean environment that promoted effective recovery while maintaining an easy access to the ship for follow-up care.
More than 45,000 overnight stays were accommodated at the HOPE center! During this time we’ve seen patients like sweet little Sambat who was able to rest during her week recovery period, that was necessary for proper healing. With the campaign to reach as many parts of Madagascar as possible, this building was essential in making this vision a reality. Sambat and her mother lived to far from the ship, and did not have adequate funds for transportation, to make regular trips back and forth, but the HOPE center became their temporary home as her bowed legs healed after surgery.
The 6 crew facilitators and 60 local day crew efficiently transported Sambat and many other patients back and forth to provide outpatient and rehab services for up to several months as needed. This freed up space on board the ship to allow other patients to receive surgery.
Just like in the case of the CHUT operating block the ships Capacity Building Program, made this project possible. Today the HOPE center is providing a safe and effective environment for the local medical staff to treat patients and will continue to provide hope and healing for the local people for many years to come.