A Plymouth-based forensic ondontologist, Simon Crewe, and his wife Liza, a chemotherapy nurse, have recently returned from Guinea, West Africa, after volunteering on board the world's largest charity hospital ship, the Africa Mercy.
Run by the international charity Mercy Ships, the Africa Mercy offers free medical care and humanitarian aid to some of the world’s poorest people. The ship has just finished a 10-month outreach in Guinea and will arrive in the Republic of Congo on the 9 August where it will start its next mission.
Liza said: ‘My contribution has been mostly supportive. Like many other people I know through Mercy Ships, I feel I take home more than I can ever give. When on board I have helped in a range of areas – Palliative Care (when I also had the privilege of visiting the patients in their own homes), the ship coffee shop, ward visitor, and the Hope Centre.
‘The Hope Centre is a Mercy Ships funded project where they support local hospitals. This year part of the programme was to upgrade a wing of the Ignace Deen Hospital in Conakry which means the hospital was left with upgraded facilities when the ship left earlier this month. While the ship was in port, patients who needed a longer recovery period than the ship could provide, also stayed at the hospital.’
Simon said: ‘I have chosen to volunteer with Mercy Ships because they focus on long-term continuity. Mercy Ships is about sustainability and making change happen for good.'
Judy Polkinhorn, executive director of Mercy Ships UK, said: 'Volunteers are the lifeline of the charity and without them we simply would not exist. We are extremely grateful to people around the UK, like Simon and Liza, who continue to support us.’
The Africa Mercy is staffed by up to 400 volunteers from 40 nations that give up their time to help others. Volunteers range from surgeons and nurses, to cooks and engineers. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than £630million, helping in excess of two million people.
To find out more, visit www.mercyships.org.uk, or contact Ingrid Ugland on 020 7710 0020 or Lois Boyle on 0141 220 6040 at Media House International.