A World with No Operating Rooms
Tresor, a 10-year-old Cameroon boy. a fire that left scars across his body and denied him the use of his arm.
Assiatou, an 18-year-old woman with a dream. a car accident that left her unable to walk without pain.
Emmanuel, a baby born to loving parents. a tumor with the potential to kill.
Without Mercy Ships and its selfless teams of volunteers, these three people—and thousands more—would have died or suffered painful lives.
Instead, Tresor, Assiastou, Emmanuel and so many others living in impoverished African regions found healing and new hope when a hospital floated to shore.
With everyone doing their bit, and a bit more, heroic operations that would cost thousands of pounds in Europe can be done for next to nothing. Well over 5,000 people had lined up in the sweltering sun in a football stadium for screening day. During the ship’s stay, nearly 800 patients had come down her gangway dancing on sunshine. This was a ship that carried that rare, most valuable commodity: a cargo of mercy.
- Don Stephens, Mercy Ships Founder, in his book, Ships of Mercy.
Healing Hands Raise All Boats
In 1978, Don and Deyon Stephens had a dream: bring affordable surgeries to impoverished Africa—and change lives. With 50 percent of the world’s population living within 100 miles of a shore, the Stephens family looked to the sea.
It started with a single ship. The Stephens’ retrofitted the vessel to be a floating hospital that would dock in Africa. For more than 40 years, volunteers from 49 countries have healed injuries and malformities that caused pain and, for many, could have ended in death.
As our world quickly evolves, a new ship is on the horizon—one that will blend Mercy Ships’ mission with the power of transformative technology.
Changing Lives with Digital Transformation
Chief Information Office (CIO) Chris Gregg spent four years working on one of the hospital ships alongside his wife and young son. Eighteen years later, Gregg and his IT team use their expertise to help Mercy Ships make an even larger impact.
In China, a new ship is being built from the ground up: The Global Mercy. Yet, building a ship takes time, much less a floating hospital equipped with state-of-the-art healthcare technology. And with the rapid pace of innovation, the Mercy Ships IT team had a tremendous challenge.
“We started making IT decisions for the new ship in 2014, but it won’t be ready until 2020,” Gregg says. “We picked out Dell EMC and VMware, because we needed a platform that would take us into the future. We needed a roadmap that would allow us to scale up as we built the ship, and we went with the company that would walk the journey with us.”
Beyond the infrastructure, connectivity is a massive trial. Gregg and his team must contend with not only remote access limitations, but also the underdeveloped technology infrastructure in African nations. To help solve this challenge, Mercy Ships is building a state-of-the-art digital foundation, leveraging hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), software-defined data center (SDDC), networking, security and mobility innovations.
“One of the key pieces of the infrastructure is making it stable,” says Jonathan Dyson, director of enterprise infrastructure, Mercy Ships. “From the international support center in Texas, we can manage all the infrastructure here. It’s more resilient. It’s highly available. But if it goes down, we have the ability to get it back up very quickly.”
Hope and Healing for the Fogotten Poor
For Mercy Ships, it’s not only about the technology, the ships, the volunteers or even the patients. It’s about the impact they leave behind.
“Not only do we do the surgery, but when this ship sails, we will leave behind a whole cadre of people that are trained,” Stephens says. “The goal is to increase the level of healthcare delivery in the country so it’s far stronger after we leave.”
Change Lives. Restore Joy.
Learn how you can help Mercy Ships bring free, first-rate medical care to families and children living in impoverished nations. Visit their website for ways to give.