By Sarah Lynar, volunteer Hospital Physician
I first heard of Mercy Ships from books as a child and wondered if one day my life would take me to see it in person. Mercy Ships, headquartered in the US, is a global, non-governmental organisation that has provided free surgical care to coastal developing nations via mobile hospital ships since 1978. Each year more than 1,000 people from over 40 nations volunteer with Mercy Ships, a service which has provided care to more than 70 different countries to date. In 2018, I finally realised I had the time, resources and experience to agree to a self-funded stint as one of the two Hospital Physicians on board the Africa Mercy. This refurbished ship, formerly a train ferry, is the world’s largest non-military hospital ship and spends 10 months of each year docked along the African coast. Many years of planning go in to each field service, and in countries where the ship has been before, the welcome back is palpable.