The Palmer Family

Serving on the M/V Africa Mercy

December 25, 2013

Christmas Update!

Filed under: Family — Donovan @ 6:13 pm

I am really, really sorry this website is so out of date. The internet is slow here and it does not motivate me to get online and work on it.  I don’t see this really changing until I move off of the ship!

Anyhow, I did manage to wait it out and upload some Christmas photos to our gallery.  This was our first Christmas without Lara. We miss her dearly, but are extremely proud of what she is doing as she starts out on her own. Anyhow, whatever your holiday plans are, we hope you are having a blessed Christmas!



May 19, 2012

Fresh News

Filed under: Latest News — Donovan @ 3:35 pm

In the busyness of the field service, I realize that we have been a bit remiss in sending some fresh news. We are about to wrap up our time in Togo, so I thought you might enjoy reading a story about a patient named Darius. If you are subscribed to our news bulletins, you should have received it via email. Otherwise you can click here to read it online.

Thank you all for your support. We are looking forward to going to Guinea… and who knows, we might be heading to Central Africa after that! :)

February 12, 2012

Finding Patients

Filed under: Journal — Donovan @ 1:54 pm

We find patients through a number of strategies. One of which is through hosting a day at a large venue such as a stadium at which we will screen for surgery. This is a huge logistical challenge for us simply because of the sheer volume of people that can show up. We need to have good plans in place and we have to receive a lot of cooperation from local authorities so that we can efficiently and quickly see hundreds of people without keeping them standing in the hot sun.

We just held our screening day at the local stadium in Lomé. Because people will often line up the day before, we placed crew on the site to monitor and organize the lines through the night. We also try to greet everyone who comes to inform them what we do and what we don’t, so that people don’t unnecessarily stand in line all night because they didn’t understand what sort of hospital ship we are. Throughout the night, there was about 300 who lined up. Just before dawn the line exploded to about 1,200.  All in all, we estimate that we had 4,000 come to the stadium.

It was a long day. It was a stressful day in that there were many we could not help. However for those that we were able to give a surgical appointment to, we gave hope.  Below are some pictures of the day. (click on them to enlarge) The hospital is in full gear now and this field service is off to a great start!

February 5, 2012

Thanking Our Partners

Filed under: Journal — Donovan @ 2:07 pm

Bringing the Africa Mercy into a port requires a lot of support from many different people from many different aspects of the country. Government, church, medical and business community entities all play a part. After we arrive in a country we put on a big reception to thank them and to also explore further ways to work together. Partnership is key to helping us be more effective and relevant in carrying out our mission.

The Partners Reception we held about a week ago turned out well and it was a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy seeing a few pictures of the day.

January 29, 2012

Opening our HOPE Centre

Filed under: Journal — Donovan @ 9:15 pm

Part of our patient flow management system is a facility ashore that we set up and can use to house patients who do not need medical care. Sometimes our patients come from a great distance, but there is no place for them to stay locally before we admit them as surgical patients. Additionally, sometimes we need to do some pre or post operative care which does not require patients to stay in one of our wards onboard. To facilitate this, we set up what we call our H.O.P.E. Centre. H.O.P.E stands for Hospital Outpatient Extension – Centre.

A week ago Friday we had an opening ceremony for our HOPE Centre for our Togo field service. This is an interesting success story. The government had a clinic here that they needed additional funds to finish. We needed our HOPE Centre. So we agreed together that we would finish it, use it until the ship leaves and then turn it over to the Ministry of Health to continue to serve its people. The last time the ship was here in 2010 we completed two wings of this medical complex. We installed the roof, painted, finished the electrics, drilled a well and added air conditioning. It served us wonderfully and after departure the Ministry of Health continue to operate the facility as a maternity unit. I have been told that over a thousand babies have now been born there. This is a substantial increase of services to what is one of the poorer areas of Lome.

This year on our return visit we have completed two more wings of this facility. In our ceremony the Minister of Health, a local traditional ruler and myself gave speeches. We also had a mini press conference. Afterwards, we toured the new facilities which are all set to go to start to receive our first patients. I am not sure when we leave what this new addition will be used for, but it gives me great satisfaction to know that it will not only help us provide free surgeries to Togolese when we are here, but also serve for years to come after we leave.

If you look up and down the west coast of Africa, you will find a number of facilities like this that have been ‘planted’ and are continuing to be used even to this day. If we are going to increase the level of healthcare in the region, these kinds of initiatives based in partnership are absolutely critical.

It has been another full, but fulfilling week.

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