Helping just got easier
Mercy Ships is altering the yearly schedule for its charity hospital ship, Africa Mercy, so it is more convenient for Kiwis to take part during their summer holidays.
Alison Brieseman, from Tawa, has worked 10 to 12-hour shifts in the Mercy Ships’ onboard operating theatres since 2005, and is now the director of nursing for the Africa Mercy.
Under her leadership, the international volunteer surgical teams have performed 505 specialised surgeries since the ship arrived in Sierra Leone in February.
‘‘Using my skills to bring such massive change to the poorest and most desperate, to help those who have no hope, is an amazing privilege,’’ she said.
Mercy Ships has announced a new field service schedule which will provide opportunity for more New Zealanders to volunteer their professional skills to help Africa’s poorest during our summer, when the hospital ship was previously dry docked.
Every year, short-term Kiwi volunteers sign up for longerterm service and help provide the core of the operation.
The Africa Mercy spends 10 months in a different West African country every year, delivering healthcare services normally unavailable to the people.
The length of two football fields and seven storeys high, the ship provides a transportable platform for the international volunteer crew to provide health care for 70 patients at a time in general and intensive care wards, and the ship’s six operating theatres.
The theatres are supported by an onboard pathology lab, X-ray and cat-scan, and a pharmacy – everything medically required to make the floating hospital selfsufficient in its provision of world-class services to those who have little or no access to the help they need.
Information on volunteering is available at mercyships.org.nz.
Committed: Aboard Africa Mercy, Tawa’s Alison Brieseman plays a key role in bringing surgical intervention to Africa’s poorest people.
Beacon of hope: Africa Mercy is the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship.