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Newcastle nurse finds service is a language of love on a Mercy Ship

Tuesday 23 May 2017: Cardiff-based nurse Merlyn Joseph grew up aware of the richness of her multicultural heritage. Born and raised in India, she moved to Australia just a little more than 10 years ago, making her home in New South Wales.

A ward nurse at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, Miss Joseph has almost 15 years of experience in urology, cardio-thoracic, infection control, gerontology including dementia, depression and mental health, endocrinology, palliative care, infectious diseases, midwifery and management.

Passionate about community and keeping life simple, Miss Joseph says she loves travelling, trying out different cuisines, meeting new people and making friends from all over the world. These interests have taken her on mission trips to Mozambique, India, Cuba, Calgary and Mexico.

So it came as no surprise then, when friends recommended she look into serving with the charity Mercy Ships, that she decided to reach out with her skills in this direction.

Recently Miss Joseph returned from two months on board the charity’s unique floating hospital, the 16,500 ton Africa Mercy docked off the coast of West Africa in the port city of Cotonou, Benin.

Owned and operated by Mercy Ships, the Africa Mercy can seem like a mini-United Nations with around 400 volunteers at any given time from around 40 nations all working with a central purpose – that of bringing hope and healing to those without access to timely, safe and free surgeries.

“I enjoyed looking after patients from various religious, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. I never once felt that language was a barrier. Everyone understands the language of love,” she smiled.

“I spent most of my time looking after ladies with severe childbirth injuries. These were pre- and post-fistula repair and hysterectomy patients,” remembers Miss Joseph.

“It was an amazing opportunity to care for them. One of my best memories is attending a dress ceremony for the ladies, post fistula repair. It’s a very emotional event, where the women share their heart wrenching testimonies.”

During the Africa Mercy’s 10-month stay in Benin, Mercy Ships intends to provide more than 1,700 life-changing surgeries for adult and child patients onboard, and treat over 8,000 at the land-based dental clinic while providing holistic healthcare training to Beninese health care professionals.

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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 www.mercyshps.org.au

For further information, please contact:

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