Wednesday 29 March 2017: The Surgery Ship, which premieres on Tuesday April 18 at 7.30pm (AEDT) on Nat Geo People, follows the courageous Australian doctors and nurses on board the hospital ship ‘Africa Mercy’, providing life-saving surgery and medical treatment to the most vulnerable populations off the coast of Africa.

From the producers of the award-winning documentary of the same name, this eight-part series returns to The Surgery Ship to take a more in-depth look at the inspiring stories of the volunteer doctors and nurses making life and death decisions every day, as well as the thousands of patients who desperately need their help.

“We were overwhelmed by the response to the documentary and we knew that there were more stories to be told about the incredible, life-saving work undertaken on board the Africa Mercy.  Making the series has enabled us to revisit some of the volunteers and patients featured in The Surgery Ship, as well as take a closer look at day to day life on the ship” said Madeleine Hetherton, Series Producer, Media Stockade.

More than 70% of the world’s population are unable to access essential surgery, as a result many common, treatable illnesses become life-threatening. For those who travel to the ship for help it is often their last hope, they have no other way of getting the vital medical care they need.

“For nearly 40 years Mercy Ships has been providing free surgeries in developing nations around the world with our crew of world-class medical and other volunteers.  It is a great honour that the National Geographic series The Surgery Ship will shine a light on the surgical needs in Africa by showcasing the work on board our hospital ship, the Africa Mercy,” stated Don Stephens Founder/President, Mercy Ships.

The doctors and nurses on board the ship face the biggest medical and ethical challenge of their lives. Not only are they confronted by unbelievable illness that many have never seen outside of textbooks, they must also make incredibly difficult decisions about who they are able to help out of the thousands of patients they see. A dramatic journey unfolds as they deal with life and death cases – and balance the fates of these patients in their hands.

It is not just the patients who are transformed on board the ship, the volunteers will also be challenged to their limits. Success and failure all follow as they battle to help in the face of overwhelming need. The medical dramas of the patients play alongside the challenges and triumphs of the medics, while the cultural, religious and social melting pot of life on the ship produces transformation on all sides.


About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivalled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 129 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the non-profit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

 About Media Stockade

Media Stockade is an independent production company based in Australia. We make dramatic, award winning documentary films for cinema, television and digital platforms. A diversely skilled team of industry professionals, Media Stockade is known for delivering to the highest production standards. Our films have been broadcast widely across over 60 countries around the globe. Dramatic stories are a powerful catalyst for positive change and Media Stockade works to amplify audience awareness and action through its social impact-producing arm dedicated to educational, community and corporate distribution of documentary films. We love working with great people and telling stories that matter.

 About Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion, treating more than 2.56 million direct beneficiaries. The Africa Mercy is crewed by 400 volunteers from up to 40 nations, an average of 1000 each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. With offices in 16 nations, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information visit

For further information, please contact:

Melissa Mason
National Office Manager, Mercy Ships Australia
[email protected]