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Operation Giving Back

Opportunity Details: Urgent

Volunteer on Hospital Ship in West Africa, Western Sahara

Mercy Ships

Detailed Description

Mercy Ships is seeking a licensed General Surgeon who can volunteer for 2 weeks on board the hospital ship M/V Africa Mercy in West Africa.

Hernia repairs and possibly some thyroidectomies. Trained and experienced medical staff are on board the ship to assist all surgeon volunteers.

All equipment, instruments, medical and pharmaceuticals are supplied by Mercy Ships. Surgeons will assist in screening patients for surgery and surgical follow-up. Volunteers will work five days a week, generally 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, with time off in the evenings and weekends for their personal use.

Location of Volunteer Opportunity:

Volunteer on Hospital Ship in West Africa, Western Sahara, Africa
Volunteer Toolkit Volunteer Toolkit

Contact Information:

Craig Sharver
Medical Recruiter
Phone: 1-800-772-SHIP or 903-939-7000
Direct Line: 903-939-7058

Agency Profile: Mercy Ships

Agency Mission: Since 1978, Mercy Ships has served millions of people in some of the poorest nations in Africa, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. The focus now for Mercy Ships is West Africa. Mercy Ships provides health care services as well as community development services free of charge to those in desperate need. Highly skilled surgeons remove tumors and cataracts, straighten crossed eyes, repair cleft lip and palates, correct fistulas, and provide a wide range of orthopedic procedures. For most of the population of the countries that Mercy Ships visits, these operations are unavailable and/or unaffordable.   Offering training and advice, materials and hands-on assistance, Mercy Ships partners with local people and empowers communities to help themselves. Mercy Ships has volunteers from over 30 nations. Doctors, surgeons, nurses, teachers, dentists, marine and support crew live onboard the ships in community and provide first-rate health care. Mercy Ships provides health care services and community development services in developing nations without prejudice or discrimination with regard to ethnicity, sex, age or religion. Before we enter any nation, we sign a protocol with top government officials. In any nation where a Mercy Ships has served, including almost exclusively Muslim nations, we have been invited back and asked to return.

Travel Assistance: In signing a protocol agreement with the countries we visit, we are in most cases able to obtain permission for our volunteers to enter the country without need for a visa. Documentation to this effect is provided for each volunteer by the ship's purser. International travel arrangements need to be arranged and funded by the volunteer, but information is given to direct the volunteer towards travel agents that can assist them. With regard to local travel arrangements, crew meet our volunteers at the airport and arrange transportation to the ship.


Opportunity open to:

Actively Practicing Surgeons, International Surgeons, Family

Active Practicing Surgeons

All medical volunteers are required to submit an application along with copies of their resume, diploma, license, and certificates. We then verify these documents and run a background check.

International Surgeons

All medical volunteers are required to submit an application along with copies of their resume, diploma, license, and certificates. We then verify these documents and run a background check.

Family Members

Due to bed space limitations, it is usually not possible for a volunteer surgeon to bring their spouse and/or family on a short-term program. If a surgeon is interested in long-term service, one year or more, then we can pursue housing for a family on the ship. An international school operates on board the M/V Africa Mercy and is available for the children of the long-term crew.


June 1, 2015

Religious Requirements

Mercy Ships welcomes all volunteers who would like to give of their time, efforts and expertise to the work of bringing hope and healing to the poor. The Africa Mercy is a faith-based community of people who are focused on serving the poor. Crew members follow the model of Jesus and agree to a values-based code of conduct that ensures the reputation and safety of Mercy Ships and its staff.


Volunteers will live on the ship and share a cabin with 1 or maybe up to 3 other medical volunteers.

Other Information

Volunteers with Mercy Ships are responsible for paying all costs associated with their service, including crew fees, travel expenses, passports, immunizations, insurance and personal expenses. Because of this commitment, Mercy Ships is able to use direct contributions from its supporters to bring hope and healing to the poorest of the poor. This crew fee is about $700 USD per month and prorated for shorter service. Mercy Ships gives a 50% discount for those individuals serving from developing nations (ranked by the United Nations). More information on finances is posted here and also here on our web site.

Other Specialties

We are also seeking other professionals - such as an IS Manager and Anesthetic Assistants. A list of all of our current staffing needs is posted on our Opportunities Page.

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