For the second installment of our Customer Stories series, we’ll look at how, and why, Puritan is helping to support international charity Mercy Ships.
Mercy Ships provides free healthcare for some of the world’s most impoverished people, and currently operates the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world, the Africa Mercy.
In many developing nations, even the most basic medical care is a rare luxury. In Africa, nearly 50% of the population has no access to a hospital or doctor. As a result, 6 million children die from preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia every year.
Saving Lives Aboard the Africa Mercy
The all-volunteer staff aboard the Africa Mercy offers transformative surgeries and care to treat a wide range of problems, including: cleft palate or lip, blindness (usually caused by cataracts or crossed eyes), bowed legs, dental problems, burns and scars, and repair for fistula injuries sustained during childbirth. Because of the lack of access to prior medical care, many of these otherwise treatable ailments have become very severe.
Puritan helps by donating single use medical products like swabs, cotton-tip applicators and tongue depressors to help aid in the diagnosis and treatment of these vulnerable individuals.
The Stories Beyond the Statistics
To thank us for our donations Jackie Abbot, procurement manager at Mercy Ships, related the following story about how two of Mercy Ships’ doctors gave the gift of sight to a family of five children:
As Dr. Strauss and Dr. Wodome made their way along the docks, they reached a bench with five children sitting very close to one another. Due to congenital cataracts, all five (four siblings and one cousin, ranging in age from 6 to 15) had been blind since birth. Their inability to see prohibited them from attending school, so they worked on the family farm - performing simple tasks that required little movement.
In addition to their blindness, all of the five children were sick with malaria when they arrived at the Mercy Ships dock. The hospital staff aboard the Africa Mercy first worked hard to get them healthy enough for the eye surgery.
When they were ready, the children received their surgeries one by one, each helping care for the others as they experienced sight for the first time. “They have always had each other, even though they are all blind,” their mother explained.
Just one week later, the children returned for their post-operative checkup. When the oldest child was able to read the smallest line on the eye chart, the entire crew erupted into cheers. Every child was tested successfully and received the same enthusiastic response. For the first time in their lives, the darkness was gone.
Mercy Ships Thrives on Your Generosity
Since 1978, Mercy Ships has operated in more than 70 developing nations around the world, impacting more than 2.35 million lives and donating more than $1 billion in healthcare services.
“Without your contributions to Mercy Ships, we would not be able to affect the lives of a poor and desperate people in Africa,” said Abbott, as thanks for our donations.
Puritan Medial Products will continue to support Mercy Ships in their mission to bring medical services and healthcare education to the world’s impoverished people. We hope you’ll consider doing the same. Click here to make a donation to Mercy Ships, or visit www.mercyships.org to learn more.