Mercy Ships

Apr 13, 2022

World's largest hospital ship expands access to healthcare in remote areas of Africa

Estimated reading time: 1-3 minutes

Philips and Philips Foundation provided funding, technical installation and training for the team of radiology volunteers aboard world's largest hospital ship

The world's largest hospital ship - 12 stories high, with 6 operating rooms and 199 patient beds – is providing access to quality healthcare in remote areas with diagnostics, surgery, and medical training. The Global Mercy is the largest civilian hospital ship in the world. After recently leaving Rotterdam, the ship will set sail for Africa to make healthcare accessible to patients in areas where it is currently unavailable. To help clinicians make a precise diagnosis and guide patients on effective treatment plans, the ship now has a new Philips CT scanner.

Together, Philips and the Philips Foundation provided the funding, technical installation and training for the team of radiology volunteers on board. This will allow the crew of the Global Mercy to use advanced CT technology for medical imaging and give patients access to high-quality diagnostic and treatment solutions.

Access to affordable medical care

The Global Mercy is a brand-new ship in the fleet of Mercy Ships, an organization that has been providing hospital care in regions where healthcare is difficult to reach since 1978.

"It is estimated that nearly 17 million people pass away worldwide each year due to a lack of access to affordable medical care," says Margot Cooijmans, Director of the Philips Foundation. "Mercy Ships has found a way to address this problem in a pragmatic way, by offering healthcare over water, making it mobile transportable. The ship docks for months at a pre-planned port along the coastline of Africa.”

“We are proud to equip this impressive hospital ship with the latest CT technology, and have been able to assist with the installation, and training of volunteers. This will allow Mercy Ships to further expand the range of diagnostics and medical procedures, with a lasting impact on healthcare in low-income regions,” Cooijmans added.

With the new ship, Mercy Ships expects to improve around 150,000 lives through medical procedures that people have long waited for. The ship is staffed with over 600 volunteers, from medical personnel to technicians and trainers, who also provide training in dental care, eye care and nutrition.

Philips CT scanner

Lasting impact

"Our goal is to help patients in areas where healthcare is not accessible. This means that we diagnose and perform medical procedures on the spot, on our hospital ships. To create a lasting impact on healthcare in the countries where we dock, we also provide medical training to ensure that access to healthcare is permanently increased – and not just while we are there,” said Mercy Ships Holland Director Martijn Provily.

"Because our goals are so aligned with the mission of Philips and Philips Foundation to deliver better access to healthcare to people in underserved areas, we are very proud of this partnership," Provily remarked.

Departure from Rotterdam

The Global Mercy was officially inaugurated in the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Several prominent guests visited the ship, including Princess Anne of the United Kingdom and former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

After a stopover in Tenerife, Spain – where the technical and medical instalments on the ship will be completed – the ship will dock in Dakar, Senegal, in May. Visit the Philips Foundation for more information on providing access to quality healthcare in the most underserved communities worldwide.

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Kathy O'Reilly

Kathy O'Reilly

Philips Global Press Office

Tel.: +1 978-221-8919

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Yannick Eshuijs

Yannick Eshuijs

Philips Foundation

Tel.: +31 6 1852 6633

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