hopeandhealing2

PHONE: 1300 739 899

[email protected]

About Us

Mercy Ships Australia is part of a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations since 1978, bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor by mobilising people and resources worldwide, serving all people without regard for race, gender or religion.

A dream that began in a young man’s heart has become reality — a big, white, state-of-the-art hospital ship that delivers hope and healing to people around the globe living in dire circumstances.

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.74 billion, with more than 2.84 million direct beneficiaries. Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 60 nations serve with Mercy Ships. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and support staff donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time.

Our Organisation

Mercy Ships Australia is a charity registered in Australia with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and governed by the Australian Board, who are responsible to 114 Australian members. Mercy Ships Australia, based in Caloundra, Queensland, is part of a global network of offices whose mission is to undertake volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and procurement of materials and services and promote the important work of Mercy Ships.


Objects

The object of Mercy Ships Australia is to provide relief of sickness and the promotion of health of the poor and disadvantaged in those countries the Minister for Foreign Affairs has declared to be developing countries by raising funds from the public in Australia and applying those funds towards:

a. the purchase of medical, optical and dental supplies to be dispensed from:
i. a ship(s) which acts as a floating hospital; and
ii. a floating hospital and/or its associated land-based project(s);
b. the cost of forwarding to a ship(s) and/or its associated land-based project(s) medical, optical and dental goods in kind;
c. the provision of medical staff to work on the ship(s) and in the developing countries;
d. the acquisition of ship(s);
e. the provision of staff to operate the ship(s);
f. the provision of volunteers to educate and work with indigenous people in developing countries on matters relating to health and sanitation; and
g. the provision of an office(s) in Australia to co-ordinate fund raising programs and the activities of the ship(s).

In furtherance of these purposes, Mercy Ships Australia will work in partnership with indigenous organisations which are effective in conducting their activities in countries declared by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to be developing countries.


Our Board

Our Board of Directors consists of dedicated elected members who govern Mercy Ships Australia and Mercy Ships Australia Relief Fund. The majority of our Board Members are Non-Executive Directors.

Alan Burrell BSc, MBA
Managing Director, Mercy Ships Australia
Secretary

Richard Wankmuller BSCE, MSCE
Chairman, Mercy Ships Australia
Non-Executive Director
CEO, Inland Rail

Karen Binns RN
Deputy Chair, Mercy Ships Australia
Non-Executive Director

John Wagner FFin
Non-Executive Director
Regional Manager, Commonwealth Bank (retired)

Ernst Scholtz MA (Clin Psych), MBL
Non-Executive Director
Human Resources Consultant

Chris Thomas BCom, DipGrad, MBus
Non-Executive Director
Senior Manager/Chapter Lead, Westpac

Kerry Peterson
Vice President of Advancement, Mercy Ships USA


Our Patron

Margo Hartley OAM


Our Australian Co-Founder

Lynn Ross


Our Advisory Council

Anthea Iva
Founder and Director, Redstone

Chris Thomas
Senior Manager/Chapter Lead, Westpac

Ron Jackson
Human Resources Consultant

Karen Binns
Registered Nurse

Paul Pemberton
Founder, Mitey Ventures


Our Staff

Our experienced staff and volunteers are always here to help you if you would like more information on donating, volunteering or helping us in some way to make a difference to the forgotten poor.

Alan Burrell
Managing Director
[email protected]

Melissa Mason
National Office & Volunteer Relations
[email protected]

Michael Conn
Finance
[email protected]

Sue Moore
Community Fundraising
[email protected]

Pat Casey
Donor Relations
[email protected]

Toni Keighley
Donor Services
[email protected]

Sue O’Donnell
Donor Services
[email protected]

Margaret Stillaway
Donor Services
[email protected]

The Need

The need for safe surgery is staggering.

Up to one third of human disease in developing countries is amenable to surgery. Yet, according to the Lancet Global Surgery 2030 Report, an estimated 16.9 million people die each year due to lack of access to surgical care1. That is more than three times the annual number of people who die from HIV, Malaria and TB combined2. In addition, billions of people experience chronic pain, financial catastrophe and social stigma because of injuries, ailments, and disfigurements that surgery could quickly fix.

Mercy Ships knows that safe surgery saves and transforms lives, but the cost and limited access to safe, affordable, and timely surgery makes this aspect of health care unobtainable for over 5 billion people3. The links between a lack of affordable health care and global poverty are also clear. There is an urgent need for significant growth in surgical capacity and training. Mercy Ships is committed to increasing our own surgical and training capacity, and to raising awareness of the need for, and impact of, surgery in developing countries.

Among the countries Mercy Ships serves, which lie on the lower third of the World Health Organisation’s Human Development Index, access to available and reliable health care is extremely limited. Diseases, congenital defects, and more go untreated. Countless people suffer and die from maladies that can easily be cured.

1 The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery
2 United Nations Human Development Index.
3 The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery

Our Work

According to the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, more than 18 million people die each year from conditions requiring surgical care. As a result, people suffer and die from “diseases of poverty” that can easily be cured through surgical intervention.

Mercy Ships tackles these diseases of poverty through three steps:

1. Collaborative Assessment
2. Ship Deployment
3. Training & Support

To achieve this, Mercy Ships delivers a customised three-year partnership model with every country it is invited to support.

Phase 1. Collaborative Assessment
Presidential Office, Ministry of Health, other departments of the government, and non-governmental organisations. A collaborative effort has an increased impact. A protocol of commitment is signed,
taking into account World Health Organisation targets. An analysis of capacity needs within the local health care system is undertaken, establishing where assistance will be most effective. The Assessment Team will examine surgical and ancillary service capacity, the port, security, and build rapport with key stakeholders. An Advance Team will enhance the effectiveness of the ship deployment by preparing for the ship’s arrival.

Phase 2. Ship Deployment
For ten months, a Mercy Ship is docked in the host nation’s port, providing free surgical and dental care for thousands of people, training and mentoring for local health care workers, renovations for local facilities, and more.

Phase 3. Training & Support
Project implementers return to understand any challenges faced by local health care professionals in implementing learned materials and skills, provide further instruction, as well as offer encouragement and additional input. On subsequent visits, teams ascertain how the work of Mercy Ships changed the lives of patients and trained health care professionals and evaluate the sustained hospital and clinic improvement.

Our Focus

Mercy Ships began sailing on our mission to provide hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor in 1978. Each year, we’ve been able to reach more people to provide life-changing surgeries.

In 2019, 1,819 free life-changing surgeries were performed, as well 28,556 dental procedures. Every port brings new challenges, new successes, and new lives transformed forever.

The challenge is enormous but each day we are making a difference as we provide surgical and health care solutions. Find out more about our areas of surgical and health care focus.

Read more on this topic

Our Impact

Mercy Ships delivers life changing surgical and medical care and partners with local communities to help them to help themselves. With your generous help we have achieved the following results.

2,840,000 +

Direct Medical Beneficiaries

 

642,579 +

Village Patients Treated with Medical and Dental Procedures

 

105,500 +

Life-Changing Surgeries Performed

 

49,000 +

Health Care Professionals Trained in Their Field of Expertise

6,600 +

Health Care Professionals Trained to Train Others

 

1,100 +

Community Development Projects Completed

 

590 +

Ports Visited

 

56 +

Developing Nations Visited

 

Impact 2019

With your generous support, our Relief Fund financially supported a variety of direct medical services during the 2019 calendar year, as well as capacity building programs and projects across Guinea and Senegal in West Africa.

The project outputs and immediate outcomes include the following:

Hospital | Surgical Medical Services
1,819 surgeries were performed across the following specialities:

• 481 Maxillofacial, Head and Neck surgeries
• 158 Reconstructive Plastic surgeries
• 556 Ophthalmic surgeries
• 478 General surgeries
• 85 Orthopaedic surgeries
• 61 Women’s Health surgeries

Hospital | Non-Surgical Medical Services
• 28,556 Dental Care procedures
• 203 Palliative Care encounters

Medical Capacity Building Mentoring
• Paediatric General Partner Unit Mentoring Program (PUMP)
• 15 Burns PUMP participants
• 10 Maxillofacial PUMP participants
• 12 Surgeon Mentoring participants
• 7 Anaesthesia Provider Mentoring participants
• 44 Surgical Nurse Mentoring participants
• 8 Clubfoot Project participants
• 51 Dental Students Mentoring participants

Medical Capacity Building Courses

• 93 ‘SAFE’ Obstetric Anaesthesia Course participants
• 50 ‘SAFE’ Paediatric Anaesthesia Course participants
• 137 Primary Trauma Care Course participants
• 92 Essential Pain Management Course participants
• 44 Essential Surgical Skills Course participants
• 175 Safe Surgery Course participants
• 37 Palliative Care Course participants
• 14 Clubfoot Ponseti Method Course participants
• 63 Ophthalmic Course participants
• 23 Biomedical Technician Training Course participants
• 21 Sterile Processing Course participants
• 35 Nutritional Agriculture Course participants

Infrastructure Projects
• HOPE (Hospital Outpatients Extension Centre) in Guinea and Senegal
• Dental Clinic in Guinea and Senegal

Hospital Chaplaincy

• 1,009 One on one Hospital Chaplaincy Sessions

Latest Impact Reports

With your generous support, our Relief Fund financially supported a variety of direct medical services from August 2019 to March 2020,  as well as capacity building programs and projects across Senegal in West Africa, including:

COVID-19 Relief
• Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies
• Remote seminars (education, training, and mentoring)

Hospital | Surgical Medical Services
1,407 surgeries were performed across the following specialities:

• 353 Maxillofacial, Head and Neck surgeries
• 158 Reconstructive Plastic surgeries
• 543 Ophthalmic surgeries
• 237 General surgeries
• 116 Orthopaedic surgeries

Hospital | Non-Surgical Medical Services
• 12,945 Dental Care procedures
• 75 Palliative Care encounters

Medical Capacity Building Mentoring
• 6 Paediatric General Partner Unit Mentoring Program (PUMP) participants
• 17 Burns PUMP participants
• 8 Maxillofacial PUMP participants
• 12 Surgeon Mentoring participants
• 2 Anaesthesia Provider Mentoring participants
• 37 Surgical Nurse Mentoring participants
• 5 Clubfoot Project participants

Medical Capacity Building Courses

• 60 ‘SAFE’ Obstetric Anaesthesia Course participants
• 40 ‘SAFE’ Paediatric Anaesthesia Course participants
• 107 Primary Trauma Care Course participants
• 92 Essential Pain Management Course participants
• 39 Essential Surgical Skills Course participants
• 455 Safe Surgery Course participants
• 70 Palliative Care Course participants
• 9 Regional Anaesthesia Course participants
• 60 Ophthalmic Course participants
• 18 Biomedical Technician Training Course participants
• 46 Sterile Processing Course participants
• 35 Nutritional Agriculture Course participants

Infrastructure Projects
• HOPE (Hospital Outpatients Extension Centre)
• Dental Clinic

Hospital Chaplaincy

• 640 One on one Hospital Chaplaincy Sessions

Download the 2019/20 Senegal Field Service Report.
Download the 2019 Annual Programs Report.
Download the 2019 Summary Statement of Income and Expenses.

Our Hospital Ships

Floating Hospitals. Vessels of Hope and Healing.

What makes Mercy Ships different is that we use a unique platform – a ship – to bring world-class medical care to the poorest nations of the world. Because over 50% of the world’s population lives within 160 kilometres of the coast, we’re able to sail a modern hospital ship with a crew of 400 volunteers directly to people who lack access. A ship gives us a number of advantages including:

– The ability to provide our services to millions who live in those areas of the globe that are difficult to access in normal circumstances allowing thousands to experience the same kind of medical care available to those of us who live in the West.

– Our staff work and are accommodated in a secure environment.

– In the unfortunate event of civil unrest, both staff and the self-contained hospital can be evacuated quickly to move onto the next assignment without loss of investment or capabilities.

Find out more about our current flagship, the Africa Mercy, our new Mercy Ship, and our other ships, now retired, that have brought hope, healing and renewed health to thousands.

Read more on this topic

Our Patients

patient blowing bubbles with volunteer

Every patient has a name, a face, and a story and Mercy Ships transforms their lives by providing free surgery and medical care.

Meet Our Patients ❯

 

Our History

Mercy Ships was founded by Don and Deyon Stephens

Surviving the devastation wreaked by a tropical hurricane and witnessing the human suffering it left in its trail inspired Don Stephens to set up a hospital ship for the world’s most vulnerable people.

In 1964, 19-year-old Don was visiting the Bahamas as part of a youth group when Hurricane Cleo swept through the region, in what was a one-in-a-hundred year storm. Don’s youth group took shelter in an aircraft hangar, but others were not so fortunate with Cleo claiming lives and destroying hundreds of homes. In the aftermath of the storm, he was struck by the words of suffering local people who pleaded for a hospital ship to treat their injured and provide urgently needed medicines.

“The hearing of it challenged me,’’ said Don.

It took years for this idea to reach fruition, but in 1978 Don’s goal became reality when he and fellow fundraisers paid $1 million US for the Victoria, a former cruise liner, and work began to convert her to a hospital ship. In 1982, the vessel, refitted with three operating theatres and a 40-bed ward, sailed as the Anastasis – the first Mercy Ship.

Since then, four ships, including the current vessel, the Africa Mercy, have served in 150 ports throughout developing nations, bringing hope, relief and healing to the most vulnerable people.

For Don, Mercy Ships has become a lifelong driving force. He and Deyon spendt ten years living on board the first Mercy Ship with their family before relocating to the International Operations Centre in Texas. Their inspiring work has brought them awards and honours. Don received the Two Hungers Award and the Religious Heritage Award and in 2009 he and Deyon were honoured with the Variety Club International Humanitarian Award. Don is also a Paul Harris Fellow through Rotary. He has written three books about Mercy Ships and is the voice behind the Mercy Minute, a daily radio broadcast aired internationally.

You can watch a short video of our history below.

Our Corporate Partners

Mercy Ships works closely with our Australian and International corporate partners who provide product in kind and funds so we can provide life-transforming surgeries and medical treatment.