First time in Congo

Credit photo: Debra Bell: patient story GNC30874_BINTOU home visit POP (bi cataracts) Credit photo: Debra BellOn August 9, 2013 the Africa Mercy arrived in Pointe-Noir, Congo for the first even campaign in this Central African nation.

In response to an invitation from the President of the Republic of the Congo, His Excellency Denis Sassou Nguesso, the Africa Mercy and her crew of more than 370 professional volunteers from more than 35 nations will provide immediate medical and surgical help as well as training and infrastructure improvements to strengthen the Congolese national health system.

While docked in Pointe-Noire, the on board hospital expects to provide around 1,900 cataract surgeries that will restore the sight to many blind Congolese and 1500 other surgeries. According to the Africa Mercy Managing Director, Donovan Palmer, Mercy Ships will also attend almost 10,000 dental patients, mentor 40-50 local medical professionals, and train hundreds with specialized courses.

Other surgeries will include removal of life-threatening tumours, cleft lip and palate repairs, plastic reconstruction for severe burn-related injuries, hernia repairs, correction for orthopaedic deformities (club foot, bowed legs, “knocked knees,” and other severe abnormalities), obstetric fistula repair, dental care, and palliative care for untreatable conditions.

Mercy Ships will also support continuing education opportunities for practicing professionals in the nation. Those include one-on-one mentoring for selected Congolese surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists and sterile processing technicians.  Additionally, courses will be offered in local hospitals in the areas of basic surgical skills, ultrasound, bio-medical equipment repair, leadership and management.

An agricultural program utilizing sustainable, environmentally friendly techniques that produce up to 5 times the yield of traditional methods will address areas of food security and nutrition.