Winsley Village Project – Mercy Ships visit to Benin

Supporting the Mercy Ships visit to Benin

The second main charity supported by the Winsley Village Project is Mercy Ships. Their hospital ship, “Africa Mercy” (the world’s largest civilian hospital ship) provides a very wide range of medical and surgical help to people in Africa, who would otherwise have none. We started supporting this charity in 2009, and in the last seven years, the ship has visited Togo, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Congo Republic, and Madagascar.

Next month (August) “Africa Mercy” will start a 9-month visit to Benin (formerly known as Dahomey), which is a stable but underdeveloped democracy, with very limited medical facilities. In spite of some economic growth over the past few years and being one of Africa’s largest cotton producers, it ranks among the world’s poorest countries; life expectancy is just 55 for men, and 59 for women.

Medical personnel on board provide surgery and healthcare to treat a wide range of problems, of which the most common are cleft lip and palatecataract, tumours, burns and burn scars, eye diseases, dental problems and injuries sustained during childbirth. Many are extremely severe because patients have had little prior access to medical care. In addition, people with disfiguring medical conditions are often shunned by their communities, so medical treatment helps to relieve the stigma and isolation that they have experienced.

“Africa Mercy” has five operating theatres, an 82-bed recovery ward, a CT scanner, an X-ray machine and a laboratory. In the last year, they carried out 1,269 surgeries and more than 22,000 dental procedures; they also provided basic oral health education to each patient, and provided further training for 473 local medical and dental personnel. As if that wasn’t enough, they also helped the country’s long term medical capability by renovating local several local hospitals and clinics. They will be doing much the same in Benin in the coming months.

Thank you all for your support of the Winsley Village Project’s work. We hope you will continue supporting us as generously as you h