• 13-MAR-2013

First Rotary-sponsored medical team works with Mercy Ships to deliver vital training to Guinea hospitals

Africa Mercy Hull
Aligning with Rotary International's commitment to fund sustainable humanitarian projects, the first Rotary-sponsored vocational training team (VTT) will travel to Conakry, Guinea to work in cooperation with Mercy Ships to train local hospital staff (9-23 March).

The team, which is sponsored by a Rotary district in North Carolina, consists of five doctors, nurses and public health experts who will conduct trainings on best practices in disease/infection control protocols for the hospital's surgical suites, equipment sterilization, disinfection, and waste disposal. The team leader, Jenny Braswell, is a public health professional and a member of the Rotary Club of Clemmons, NC.

Rotary, under its new Future Vision grants program, seeks to forge strategic partnerships with established organizations with expertise in any of Rotary's six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water and sanitation; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development. The grants support major international projects with sustainable, high impact outcomes.

"One of the main purposes of this trip and the partnership between Rotary and Mercy Ships is to enhance the skills of local health care professionals to improve delivery of vital health services to West African communities, a goal in line with Rotary's Future Vision," said Wilfrid J. Wilkinson, chair of The Rotary Foundation. "This partnership is an innovative approach to addressing critical humanitarian needs by leveraging the wide-ranging skills of Rotary's volunteers with the expertise of an international development partner such as Mercy Ships."

Health care training and capacity building for local hospitals is a major focus for Mercy Ships. Through the partnership—which was announced in 2011— Rotary provides grants to its clubs and districts to assemble vocational training teams of medical professionals. The teams will work with Mercy Ships medical staff to perform or assist in life-changing surgeries. The Rotary volunteers also will share their expertise through training programs aimed at enhancing the skills of local health care professionals.

"Mercy Ships is honored to be working in partnership with Rotary to impact disease prevention and treatment in Guinea," said Mercy Ships President and Founder Don Stephens. "The scope of Rotary's service to humanity is truly monumental, and it is my belief that the synergy of our organizations working together will be an even greater force to improve health care delivery systems in Africa."

ABOUT MERCY SHIPS: Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, impacting more than 2.35 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information, contact Mark Wright at civic.partners@mercyships.org.

ABOUT ROTARY: Rotary is a global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary members are men and women who are business, professional and community leaders with a shared commitment to make the world a better place through humanitarian service. To access broadcast quality video footage and still photos go to: Media Center.