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Rotary and Mercy Ships partner to deliver vital medical care to West Africa

Rotary and Mercy Ships partner to deliver vital medical care to West Africa

EVANSTON, Ill. (Oct. 5, 2011) — A new strategic partnership between Rotary International (http://www.rotary.org) and the global charity Mercy Ships (http://www.mercyships.org) will improve the delivery of vital health care services throughout West Africa.

Through the partnership, The Rotary Foundation, Rotary’s charitable arm, will provide grants to Rotary clubs and districts to assemble vocational training teams of medical professionals. The teams will work with Mercy Ships medical staff to perform or assist in life-changing surgeries. The Rotary volunteers also will share their expertise through training programs aimed at enhancing the skills of local health care professionals.

The partnership first focuses on West Africa, where the Mercy Ships flagship, the Africa Mercy, is now based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Grants will be implemented in the coming months, and the first Rotary teams are expected to be in West Africa by early 2012.

Health care training and capacity building for local hospitals is a major focus for Mercy Ships. Mercy Ships will work with Rotary to attract Rotarians from all over the world to help perform vocational training of surgeons and ancillary staff on the Africa Mercy as well as in local hospitals and facilities. Operated by Mercy Ships, the Africa Mercy is an ideal training platform with a controlled environment and a steady flow of patients.

“The need for top quality health care is great throughout West Africa, where far too many families lack access to hospitals, doctors nurses, dentists and other health professionals,” said Rotary Foundation Vice-Chair Sam Okudzeto, of Accra, Ghana. “Daily, we learn of expectant mothers and children dying from ailments that can easily be cured if health facilities are available. The partnership between Rotary and Mercy Ships leverages the strengths of both organizations to significantly address this disparity between need and access. I am sure many lives will be saved and quality of life will improve by this intervention.”

“Mercy Ships is honored to be chosen as a strategic partner for Rotary’s focus on disease prevention and treatment,” said Mercy Ships President and Founder Don Stephens. “The scope of Rotary’s service to humanity is truly monumental, and it is my belief that the synergy of our organizations working together will be an even greater force to improve health care delivery systems in West Africa.”

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, under its new Future Vision plan, seeks to forge strategic partnerships with established organizations with expertise in any of Rotary’s six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water and sanitation; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development. The foundation grants support major international projects with sustainable, high impact outcomes.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Rotary International.


Wayne Hearn (( +1-847-866-3386 ; wayne.hearn@rotary.org)
Claire Bufe (( +1-903-939-7017 ; claire.bufe@mercyships.org)

To learn more about surgical opportunities with Mercy Ships, go to www.mercyships.org. For more information about Rotary, visit www.rotary.org. For visuals please visit:  www.rotary.org/mediacenter.

ABOUT MERCY SHIPS: Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $834 million, impacting more than 2.9 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to become the face of love in action, bringing hope and healing to the poor. For more information click on www.mercyships.org
ABOUT ROTARY: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are 1.2 million Rotary members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary clubs have been serving communities worldwide for more than a century. The first Rotary club was founded in Chicago in 1905. For more information click on www.rotary.org

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