An international medical organization maintains that collateral hardship from the Ebola epidemic has forced the cancellation of medical teams to various locations around the world.
Mercy Ships, which operates the world’s largest civilian hospital ship in ports on the West Coast of Africa, has canceled deployment to Guinea, where Ebola first broke out last December, but currently docked in the Canary Islands with crew and staff, Mercy Ship now waits for an end-of-August decision for field service in Benin.
The Mercy Ship was due to sail for the port of Cotonou, Benin, for its 10-month field service last week but has delayed that sail pending further assessment due to the aggressive nature of the outbreak in neighboring Nigeria.
According to the charity’s president and founder Don Stephens, the ship is unequipped to treat viral epidemics.
“Africa is and remains our priority, but crew safety drives every decision,” Stephens said in a statement. “We request prayer as we consider all options to manage the risk, including deployment to other unaffected nations.”
This ship’s crew consists of 400 staff members representing 40 nations, with up to 60 children onboard at any time.
“Mercy Ships has many, many friends in West Africa,” Stephens said. “In the meantime, our prayers go out to all those affected by this terrible epidemic, especially those in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.”
Stephens explained that the organization is closely monitoring the situation across the continent of Africa.
Publication date: August 20, 2014