Rotarians will help improve the delivery of vital health care services to West Africa through a new strategic partnership between The Rotary Foundation and the global charity Mercy Ships.
Through the partnership, the Foundation will offer packaged global grants for Rotary Clubs and districts to assemble vocational training teams of medical professionals. These teams will perform or assist in life-changing surgeries. The Rotarian volunteers will also work to enhance the skills of local health care professionals.
The initial projects will take place in West Africa, the area of operations for the charity‘s 16,500-ton state-of-the-art hospital ship, Africa Mercy, now based in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
This strategic partnership with Mercy Ships enables Rotary to work with a globally recognised leader in the delivery of vital medical and surgical care to the world‘s most vulnerable populations, says Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair William B. Boyd. It allows Rotary Club members to directly contribute their valuable expertise and skills within the framework of a proven and highly successful health care program.
Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships uses its hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care and assistance in capacity building and sustainable development to developing countries. The charity has worked in more than 70 countries, performing services that have had an impact on more than 2.9 million people. Each year, more than 1,200 surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, or agriculturalists volunteer their time and skills.
Rotarians have a record of working with Mercy Ships, carrying out projects in several countries. The Rotary Clubs of Jacksonville, Florida, USA and Tema, Accra, Ghana, helped equip the Africa Mercy in 2007 to provide medical aid in Ghana. Jacksonville Rotarians also partnered with the Rotary Club of Monrovia, Liberia to support eye and facial surgeries for more than 1,200 patients in Monrovia from 2008 to 2011.
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland named Mercy Ships its Charity of Choice in 2005–06.
Rotary Foundation Global Grants support large, international projects with sustainable, high-impact outcomes in Rotary‘s areas of focus. Packaged global grants developed by the Foundation and Mercy Ships will directly support the disease prevention and treatment area of focus.
Because the administrative work of designing the project and finding a partnering organisation has already been done, Rotary Clubs and districts can focus on identifying beneficiaries, providing technical expertise or direct service, and publicising the effort.
By Arnold R. Grahl – Rotary International News