Nearly 90% of the inhabitants of Africa have little to no access to a qualified doctor or hospital.

With the support of people like you, we deploy hospital ships to combat this overwhelming statistic.

médicos de naves de esperanza en una cirugia


In developing nations, the lack of access to basic healthcare can have devastating outcomes. Mercy Ships provides free relief through specialized life-saving surgeries that restore hope. Patients recover under the care of our professionals on the hospital ship.


Craniomaxillofacial tumours, cleft lip and palate, and ear-nose-throat diseases are life-threatening conditions affecting children and adults throughout Africa. An uncorrected cleft palate makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a baby to suckle or drink from a bottle. Untreated benign facial tumours can grow to the point of suffocating the patient. Very often, when facing any facial deformity, the result is becoming a social outcast.


Benign tumours, chronic ulcers, scars from serious wounds, and especially burn contractures (hardening of the skin that restricts movement) are all prevalent conditions in countries where machetes cause the most common fires, and most of the population uses firewood for cooking.


Due to superstitions, even hernias and goiters, which do not greatly impede physical activity, can lead to the sick being ostracized by their local communities, preventing children from attending school and adults from being able to work.

Dental Clinic

Many residents of developing countries have never had the privilege of being treated by a dentist. Dental care is almost non-existent in most of West Africa and, in other countries that visit Mercy Ships, the economic situation makes access to it impossible for the majority of the population.

clínica dental dentro del buque


The lack of oral hygiene and absence of dental treatment can lead to much more serious diseases, such as the condition known as Noma. The dental professionals at Mercy Ships works to improve oral health in developing countries through education on oral hygiene and training local professionals in the community.


Mercy Ships operates dental clinics to provide care for those in need. Due to poor or nonexistent dental hygiene, extractions are common procedures. Additionally, we perform fillings, root canal treatments, partial dentures, and management of intraoral and extraoral odontogenic infections. Often, after receiving treatment, patients express their relief and gratitude by embracing the dentists.

Voluntaria abraza a una paciente

Helping Minds in Distress

In developing nations, individuals suffering from mental illnesses are often marginalized by their families and communities. Sometimes, a lack of understanding about these conditions can lead to further abuse. Few developing nations have facilities that offer mental health services, and what exists is generally inadequate. Primary health care workers are crucial for providing quality services, and the training programs we conduct for them significantly improve treatment.

Palliative Care

Unfortunately, not all individuals who come to our hospital ships with a physical or medical need can be helped through surgical care. For many, the ship arrives too late: their condition has progressed beyond the point where medical aid can cure them. While terminally ill patients experience physical, spiritual, and emotional pain, their families also suffer alongside them.

Voluntaria explica como realizar cuidados paliativos
Capacitación para cuidados paliativos

The Palliative Care Team of Mercy Ships helps these patients and their families during this delicate time. We train family members and caregivers to address the physical needs of those patients. Often, terminally ill patients are the main support of their families. In these cases, Mercy Ships works with surviving family members to develop new income opportunities. We follow the model of Jesus in caring tenderly for the dying patients and their grieving families, and we invite local religious leaders to offer spiritual and practical support.

Learn about the lives we change

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As volunteers on hospital ships, we travel to provide free world-class health services and safe surgical care. We are dedicated to strengthening local health systems, making a difference in communities with limited access to health.