Mercy Ships is a non-governmental organization that works in the world's poorest areas providing free healthcare services.

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.

Mercy Ships takes a two-pronged approach to improve healthcare systems in the countries they partner with. They bring direct Medical Services to reduce the immediate backlog of surgical patients through direct surgical provision onboard a hospital ship.⁠ They work on Medical Capacity Building: Strengthening host nation’s healthcare system through training, infrastructure, and mentoring. ⁠

Mercy Ships seeks to leave the host nation better equipped with the training, tools, and infrastructure to care for their own.

Mercy Ships began with a dream. In 1978 while living in Lausanne, Switzerland, Don and Deyon Stephens had a vision of ships that would carry medical personnel and relief cargo to help the poor. Quite a number of Spaniards were involved in the transformation of the first ship M/V Anastasis into the world’s largest non-military hospital ship.

Mercy Ships has an average of 1,300 volunteer crew from more than 50 nations, serving onboard the Africa Mercy each year.


Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to transform lives and serve nations, one at a time.

Impact made by Mercy Ships

Since 1978, Mercy Ships has impacted about 2.61 million direct beneficiaries, with over 592 port visits in 55 developing nations and 18 developed nations.

In 2019, 1,407 surgeries were performed onboard the Africa Mercy.

In 2019, Mercy Ships has mentored 87 healthcare professionals and 1,199 participants attended medical courses.

Mercy Ships announced the construction of the world’s largest NGO hospital ship which plans to sail to Africa in late 2021 under the name of Global Mercy.

Since 1978, Mercy Ships performed more than 100,000 surgeries and mentored more than 42,000 professionals..

More than 1300 volunteers fueled the lifesaving mission of Mercy Ships.

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Support the Impact Project

SDG 3 | Good Health and Well-Being

Elephants are losing their homes and their hope for a better future. They cannot survive without our urgent help.

Through the deployment of the world’s largest, civilian hospital ship ‘Africa Mercy’, Mercy Ships helps fill the gaps in local healthcare systems. While serving the dire and immediate needs of the population, Mercy Ships helps improving the local health care infrastructure and builds capacity by providing training opportunities for medical professionals along with the curative surgical interventions. Read more on the Impact Project Page
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Impact Bead #15 | Elephants... | World Animal Protection




Impact Bead #15 | Elephants... | World Animal Protection




Impact Bead #15 | Elephants... | World Animal Protection




Impact Bead #15 | Elephants... | World Animal Protection





Unleashed potential - the story of Aliou

Mercy Ships, 2019

Aliou was just 3 years old when his blanket ignited while he was sitting around a fire—severely burning his upper body. His father worried the child wouldn’t survive, but his grandmother Bintou wouldn’t give up hope. But as Aliou’s burns healed, his arm contracted and became immobile. Surgery was his only option, but it was an option his family could never afford.

For his grandmother, Bintou, seeing her grandson go to school was a priority, but more importantly, she was determined to find healing for him. One day, Bintou heard exciting news on the radio about Mercy Ships coming to the port of Dakar to bring hope and healing to the people and her hope returned; now all she needed was healing.

She embarked on the four-hour journey to her nation’s capital to bring her grandson to the hospital ship that would straighten his arm. When Bintou saw Aliou healed, she was brimming with joy and gratitude.

“Mercy Ships opened the big door to Aliou’s future,” she said. Once he had recovered, he received therapy to rehabilitate the motion in his arm before returning home. It’s a critical step in ensuring the work done by the volunteer surgeons would last a lifetime.

Today Aliou’s future has been unleashed. “Everything he could not do before, he can do now,” she says, “He is living like a normal boy… and soon he will begin school!

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