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World's largest hospital ship makes healthcare available in remote areas with diagnostics, surgery, and medical training

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Apr 06, 2022

By the Philips Foundation team

A hospital on the water; 12 stories high, with 6 operating rooms and 199 patient beds. The Global Mercy is the largest civilian hospital ship in the world. After leaving Rotterdam, the ship will set sail for Africa as soon as possible to make healthcare accessible to patients in areas where it is currently unavailable. To help clinicians make a precise diagnosis and guide patients on effective treatment plans, the ship now has a new Philips CT scanner.

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Photo: The Global Mercy in Rotterdam ports


Together, Philips and the Philips Foundation provided the funding, technical installation and training for the team of radiology volunteers on board. This will allow the crew of the Global Mercy to use advanced CT technology for medical imaging and give patients access to high-quality diagnostic and treatment solutions.


Access to affordable medical care

The Global Mercy is a brand-new ship in the fleet of Mercy Ships, an organization that has been providing hospital care in regions where healthcare is difficult to reach since 1978.

"It is estimated that nearly 17 million people pass away worldwide each year due to a lack of access to affordable medical care," says Margot Cooijmans, Director of the Philips Foundation. "Mercy Ships has found a way to address this problem in a pragmatic way, by offering healthcare over water, making it mobile transportable. The ship docks for months at a pre-planned port along the coastline of Africa.“


“We are proud to equip this impressive hospital ship with the latest CT technology, and have been able to assist with the installation, and training of volunteers. This will allow Mercy Ships to further expand the range of diagnostics and medical procedures, with a lasting impact on healthcare in low-income regions,” Margot Cooijmans adds.


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Photo: The installed Philips CT-scanner in the hospital ship


With the new ship, Mercy Ships expects to improve around 150,000 lives through medical procedures that people have long waited for. The ship is staffed with over 600 volunteers, from medical personnel to technicians and trainers, who also provide training in dental care, eye care and nutrition.


Lasting impact

Mercy Ships Holland Director Martijn Provily: "Our goal is to help patients in areas where healthcare is not accessible. This means that we diagnose and perform medical procedures on thespot, on our hospital ships. To create a lasting impact on healthcare in the countries where we dock, we also provide medical training to ensure that access to healthcare is permanently increased – and not just while we are there."


"Because our goals are so aligned with the mission of Philips and Philips Foundation to deliver better access to healthcare to people in underserved areas, we are very proud of this partnership," Martijn Provily further emphasises.

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Departure from Rotterdam

The Global Mercy was officially inaugurated in the port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Several prominent guests visited the ship, including Princess Anne of the United Kingdom and former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.


After a stopover in Tenerife, Spain – where the technical and medical instalments on the ship will be completed – the ship will dock in Dakar, Senegal, in May.

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