Sailing the high seas for humanity

People in Switzerland are the most fortunate in the world when it comes to medical care. Meanwhile, most of the world’s population – around 5 billion people – have no access to medical or surgical care.

Hirslanden wants to help improve this situation, which is why it is supporting Mercy Ships, an aid organisation founded in Lausanne in 1978. A crew of more than 400 volunteers from all over the world brings hope and aid to hundreds of thousands of people.

Facts about Mercy Ships:

1978 founded in Lausanne
400 volunteers
40 nationalities
A hospital drops anchor

When people are unable to get themselves to the hospital, a hospital has to come to them. This was the insight of Don and Deyon Stephens when they founded Mercy Ships in Lausanne in 1978. Their idea was to use hospital ships to bring medical and humanitarian aid to the coast and even onward into inland areas. This was the beginning of the Mercy Ships success story.

Since the organisation was founded, its ships have been deployed to more than 70 countries along the coasts of Africa, where they provide medical and humanitarian aid valued at over one billion Swiss francs. These efforts have improved the lives of more than 2.5 million children and adults.

Mercy Ships spends 10 months at each location. Before the hospital ship arrives, the aid organisation notifies patients in need through radio, posters and social media campaigns as well as with the help of local authorities and institutions. Potential patients then have the opportunity to make appointments with medical personnel who examine and treat their diseases and ailments.

Thousands of individuals hope to have a free operation on the ship. While the ship is in port, around 400 voluntary staff provide medical care for general, plastic, orthopaedic, facial and reconstructive surgery in addition to ophthalmic, dental and gynaecological care.

A meaningful partnership

For over three decades, Mercy Ships has been helping to improve the quality of life for people along the coasts of Africa. The partnership will allow the aid organisation to benefit from our medical expertise and from raising its profile in Switzerland.

Employees may now submit applications for the mission to Guinea on the African Mercy – the biggest hospital ship in the world – and be part of the effort to provide first-rate, free health care to people in need. While this is an unpaid mission, Hirslanden will provide financial support to five of its employees during the volunteer mission.

Development aid with a lasting impact

In addition to volunteer medical personnel from over 40 nations, there will be sailors, administrative staff, teachers, cooks, engineers and agricultural experts on board the Mercy Ships vessel. These people work on renovating medical facilities, providing training, and helping to develop agriculture that will bring lasting improvements to the countries they are visiting.