Queen Elizabeth II Quay, Freetown, Wednesday 23 August 2023 –* His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has officially welcomed the Chief Executive Officer and Management of the Global Mercy Ship to the shores of the West African nation, the 6th field service of the world’s biggest charity ship that will be in the country for the next 10 months.
The team of medics is expected to perform more than 2,000 critical surgeries and it will directly or indirectly create jobs for approximately 300 citizens in the country.
“Today is an exciting day for us all in Sierra Leone because this is all about human capital development. We are fully committed. For us, it’s a passion. On behalf of the government and the great people of Sierra Leone, I am delighted to welcome the medical staff and crew of MV Global Mercy on its 6th voyage of immersing humanitarian importance to the shores of the Republic of Sierra Leone. You are welcome.
“The arrival of the Mercy Ship to our shores after 12 years is a testament to our unwavering partnership between the government, international organisations, and dedicated individuals who believe in the power of humanity to make a difference. We are profoundly grateful to Mercy Ship’s organisation and the donor for their dedication and commitment to the sustainable development of local surgical care throughout sub-Saharan Africa and for bringing hope to the underserved regions of the world,” he said.
The President also revealed that since the last field service of the Mercy Ship to Sierra Leone, life expectancy had increased from 53 to 61 years, with a decline in infant mortality rate from 76 percent to 70 percent and a reduction in maternal mortality by 60 percent. He said the improvement indicated the government’s commitment to actualising Sustainable Development Goal 3, which was to ensure that citizens enjoyed good health and well-being.
“We are determined to transform Sierra Leone’s healthcare system into one of the best in the region. Recently, a team of doctors working with an international partner successfully performed video-assisted thoracic surgery on a patient in Sierra Leone at the Connaught Hospital. We are poised to have more of this collaboration in the future to help improve the quality of life of our people,” President Bio added.
Chief Executive Officer, of Global Mercy Ship, Gert van de Weerdhof, acknowledged how grateful and glorious it was for them to be in Sierra Leone, stating that “we are grateful, and I am grateful to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio for inviting us to the Republic of Sierra Leone”.
He said the ship was the fulfillment of years of prayers and donations, pointing out that the vessel was a place where miracles had happened and that with their presence again in Sierra Leone, miracles would continue to happen in Freetown. He thanked the ministry and minister of health for their leadership and strategic planning to build on the healthcare system in Sierra Leone, confirming that the minister was a “trusted friend of global mercy.”
The CEO also stated that it was very exciting for them to mark the beginning of their 6th field service in Sierra Leone, stating that they felt a long-lasting partnership that started in 1992.
“In the next 10 months over 200,000 healthcare professionals will receive training across the surgical ecosystem. Despite the many challenges, we believe we were called to work together in such a time like this to serve your wonderful country.
“We believe the way to overcome challenges is to work in unity. We look forward to continued collaboration and success. We can’t wait to see the ripple effect of this field service, and I pray for blessing over the work we are about to start together. Sierra Leone, its people, and its leaders, may God bless you,” he prayed.
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