A brand-new ship – the M/V Global Mercy – made a pitstop at the Grand Harbour before it took off on its journey to fulfil its mission as a hospital ship in Africa.
Operations will be carried out on the ship and free medical treatment will be provided to those without financial means or access to health care. The ship is also linked to Malta!
M/V Global Mercy, which started its journey from China, is set to offer hope to patients in countries where the health system is accessible only for the few, especially in Africa.
The Vice-President of Mercy Ships, Jim Paterson, said that the organisation is financed by generous donations, with the ship serving as a complete hospital at sea with over 1,300 volunteers from 54 countries acting as crew. Patients will be picked according to their condition.
Paterson revealed that there are roughly 5 billion people around the world with limited access to medical services.
He continued, ‘Not life-threatening issues but issues that definitely affect people’s lives…. cataracts for example, cleft palettes, still the third most common birth defect in the world today but here in Malta and the rest of Europe or the US that would be dealt with when the baby is still young so you don’t see many people like that nowadays but in West Africa that is just not available to people. We also do orthopaedics, straightening crossed legs, because bent legs are quite a problem.’
The ship was registered to Malta in an effort to maintain the 40-year tradition of ships belonging to this organisation always forming part of the Maltese Shipping Registry.
The Chairman and CEO of Transport Malta, Joseph Bugeja, also revealed: ‘Malta and the Authority exempt this ship from all registration taxes, including the expenses of the certificates for the crew, because it is our pleasure as a country to contribute to this good cause.’
Over the years, more than 100,000 surgical procedures have been carried out on vulnerable people around the world.