Over the past two years, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of over 4 million humans all around the world. Comparatively, in 2017 alone, cardiovascular diseases have been the killers of nearly 18 million humans across the globe, while nearly 10 million died from cancers and 4 million from respiratory diseases. We are all still so much more likely to die from non-communicable diseases, such as those involving our own heart, our own lungs, and our own cancerous cells all around the body.
For the year 2021, the World Health Organization reported that child and maternal mortality, among other medical disparities, remain high, despite the WHO’s current efforts to fix the underlying issues globally.
First-world healthcare systems overall have been better able to prevent and treat the above-mentioned human ailments.
In regards to the health care of these non-communicable diseases, first-world countries have, for decades, fared much better than second and third-world countries, especially those under political tensions and with poor infrastructure networks. All of these issues especially limit disadvantaged groups. These issues forcefully limit their access to or even completely hinder the abilities of local medical professionals who are unable to get ahold of appropriate medical equipment or provide reliable resources of medication. Yet, there seems to be a connection between medical care and location, as a variety of global health disparities remain localized to generalized regions, including sub-Saharan Africa, Central, and Southern Asia, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.
Take a minute now to step back into your mind palace. Do you remember the last time your favorite traveling circus or a famous performing artist last stopped by your town? If this were your only chance to see your idol, would you have gone, or at least done everything in your power to go? Now, imagine if a “miracle worker” were to stop by at the town next door. Imagine, this "miracle worker" is the only one who could grant you the one wish you've always wanted to come true. Would you go? Sekouba would.
And so, he did.
When he was 12 years old, Sekouba, from Senegal sought out his “miracle worker.” Three years ago, a tiny lump had begun to develop in his mouth. His mother told him not to worry about it, because it was so small. Over the next year, this little lump grew profusely into a tumor that filled the young boy’s entire cheek. While it began to significantly impact his mouth, it also impacted his life. People’s curiosity began to turn into bullying and scorning, so much so, that Sekouba dropped out of school. He tried to teach himself the lessons that he was missing out on, but it was difficult. His mother, saddened by Sekouba’s grief, searched for ways to heal him, even attempting to sell her land to raise money for surgery. It would have been useless. The local surgeon told her he was unable to operate on her son because he lacked the necessary medical equipment. But one day, they heard about a hospital ship. It was coming to their country! Hurriedly, Sekouba and his mother traveled three entire days to the ship, known as Africa Mercy, where not only one “miracle worker” but a whole team of miracle workers were able to surgically remove Sekouba’s maxillary mass and help him on his recovery process. A month after his surgery, Sekouba returned to his home, his classroom, and his friends – his life had taken a turn for the better. Check out his story in the video below:
Mercy Ships sends over 1,300 volunteer professionals from over 60 countries around the world – every year. Its volunteers have completed over 100,000 surgical procedures and trained over 42,000 local professionals on vital medical procedures, creating a lasting legacy that will impact millions of individuals around the world, for generations to come. Since its establishment in 1978, Mercy Ships surgeons and medical staff, cooks, teachers, and technicians, all serve individuals in desperate need of medical attention, who do not have access to state-of-the-art medical care.
Why a floating hospital?
As Max Lucado, best-selling author, put it: “Mercy Ships puts faith in action – bringing hope and healing. Their floating hospital restores people’s dignity with free surgery and life-changing medical treatment.” 50% of the world’s population lives in coastal areas. Attempts to bring resources and medical care to land regions engulfed in political strife and natural disaster have always proven to be very difficult, if not impossible. Hospital ships including Mercy Ships are some of the most efficient avant-garde hospital care systems to deliver free surgery to those in need, as well as training, medical tools, and resources to local professionals.
Mercy Ships has countless stories to tell of - stories of medical success as well as stories of emotional hardship, just like that of Sekouba. With continued volunteer and monetary support from many generous individuals, Mercy Ships will continue to touch the lives of the disadvantaged. In the near future, Mercy Ships will even launch their newest ship, Global Mercy, to join their current ship on the sea, the Africa Mercy. Who knows, maybe one day, we will see your name on the list of selfless volunteers who are aboard Mercy Ships!
Thanks for stopping by! :)
~Ryen Belle Harran~