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Hospital Ship Africa Mercy® Undergoes Extensive Repairs and Upgrades to Revolutionize Healthcare Delivery



…Data infrastructure upgrade, and replacement of currently failing phone system to effectively resolve connectivity and communication issues, previously endured by ship’s crew

DURBAN, South Africa: The Africa Mercy, one of the hospital ships of Mercy Ships (, has docked in Durban to undergo extensive repairs and maintenance to prolong its service life.

Over the next seven months, as part of the refit project, the Africa Mercy will undergo a wide range of repairs and upgrades that will significantly improve the ship’s capabilities and elevate the quality of her services.

A key highlight of Africa Mercy’s refurbishment process is the information technology (IT) upgrade, which will notably enhance the ship’s functionality and performance within her operating theatres.This advanced IT platform will enable seamless communication and coordination between the Africa Mercy and Mercy Ship’s latest hospital ship, the Global Mercy™.

Moreover, it will support the provision of essential training for local doctors, fostering the development of in-country healthcare professionals. These improvements will enable faster and more efficient information exchange, ultimately optimizing the delivery of vital services. Following its voyage from Senegal, the Africa Mercy will remain in South Africa for the remainder of this year, with a planned stop in East London before resuming active service in January 2024.

Brenda van Straten, Director, Mercy Ships, South Africa, says: “We believe every life deserves access to quality healthcare, regardless of geographical location. The ‘Africa Mercy refit project’ is a testament to our unwavering commitment to extending the reach of our medical services and positively impacting the lives of thousands. Through this project, we are not only upgrading a ship; we are opening doors to hope, healing, and a brighter future for those in need.

“The upgrade will also allow us to continue our program delivery, improving the working and living conditions of our dedicated volunteers, and optimize the ship’s operational efficiency and future maintenance costs. Durban has been selected as the location for the ship’s infrastructure upgrade due to our successful collaboration with the DORMAC shipyard in the past. The quality of their work, especially in the ship’s interior, a vital aspect of this project, has greatly impressed us. Additionally, Durban’s proximity to our next destination, Madagascar, played a pivotal role in our decision-making process.

”The data infrastructure upgrade and replacement of the current failing phone system will effectively resolve the connectivity and communication issues previously endured by the ship’s crew. The refit project will dramatically improve overall communication on the ship, enabling the swift and efficient exchange of important information and messaging. The refit project encompasses an array of improvements to ensure the ship’s continued operation and enhance the experience of both volunteers and patients. The project includes modernizing the galley, upgrading the elevator system, and remodeling several cabin spaces. These modifications will enhance safety and functionality, creating an environment that fosters community and healing. The project also increases the likelihood of reaching more individuals in need of healthcare. To ensure the success of the upgrade, Mercy Ships has assembled a team of renowned contractors and vendors from around the world, including South African companies such as DORMAC, Bradgary, MLQ, MAN Energy Solutions, AEGIR-Marine, and Loewe-Marine.

Chris Sparg, Managing Director, DORMAC Marine & Engineering, says: “The Africa Mercy upgrades, resulting from meticulous planning by Mercy Ships’ technical teams in collaboration with DORMAC, MLQ, and Bradgary, involved several ship visits to ensure detailed designs were completed. The one-month drydocking, complying with Classification Society rules, saw numerous upgrades.

“Working with Mercy Ships’ experienced technical professionals was a pleasure as they deeply understand the ship and organizational needs. Our teams are proud to support Mercy Ships, positively affecting lives in Africa. With a long-standing association, DORMAC is grateful to its partners MLQ and Bradgary for world-class accommodation upgrades. We pledge our full support to Mercy Ships as the Africa Mercy continues its crucial services in nearby waters.

”The Africa Mercy refit project is part of a broader five-year initiative. Upon completion of the refit, the Africa Mercy, in conjunction with the purpose-built Global Mercy, will significantly expand Mercy Ships’ capacity to provide life-changing surgeries. By utilizing these two ships, Mercy Ships aims to more than double its current reach and effectiveness in improving healthcare worldwide. In parallel with the ship’s refurbishment, Mercy Ships will conduct eight Safer Anesthetics From Education (SAFE) courses in South Africa this year. These courses aim to enhance the skills and knowledge of healthcare professionals and improve the safety of anesthetic care in the region. Furthermore, the organization will continue to provide volunteer opportunities to South Africans who wish to contribute to Mercy Ships’ humanitarian efforts.

Mercy Ships has a history of providing valuable medical services in South Africa. In 1997/98, the organization conducted a field service in East London, administering medical treatments to South Africans in need. In 2010, Mercy Ships offered dental care, eye surgery, and a mental health course in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). These initiatives reflect the commitment to improving the health and well-being of individuals in South Africa and highlight the impact of these programs on local communities.

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Health and Safety

LASG Totally Bans Street Trading, Hawking, Seals Up Ladipo Market



FOGCILS Gives Assurances of Support to APC, Sanwo-Olu

 The Lagos State Government (LASG) on Friday announced a total ban on street trading, hawking, building of illegal structures on drainage setbacks, and the display of wares on walkways across the state.

The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, made the announcement in a statement in Lagos.

Wahab said that the State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) has been directed to strictly enforce compliance with the environmental Sanitation laws.

According to him, the latest offensive is meant to curtail the nefarious activities of hawkers who disguise to rob motorists and also disrupt the free flow of traffic on Highways and Streets.

Meanwhile, the commissioner also effected the sealing up of Ladipo market in Mushin in the early hours of Friday following several environmental offences, including reckless waste disposal, unhygienic premises, and non-payment of waste bills, amongst others. 

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Health and Safety

SRHIN: Empowering Communities through Comprehensive Sexual Health Education



…Kwara Chapter’s Transformative Health Walk***


Sexual health is a basic human right that transcends geographical and demographic boundaries. It incorporates not only physical health, but also emotional and social aspects, making it imperative that individuals have access to accurate and comprehensive information in order to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Recognising this, the Kwara State Chapter of the Slum and Rural Health Initiative (SRHIN) embarked on a mission to empower communities through an innovative sexual health walk conducted on September 2, 2023.

*Volunteers from the Kwara State Slum and Rural Health Initiative Chapter

Sexual health is a basic human right that transcends geographical and demographic boundaries. It incorporates not only physical health, but also emotional and social aspects, making it imperative that individuals have access to accurate and comprehensive information in order to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Recognising this, the Kwara State Chapter of the Slum and Rural Health Initiative (SRHIN) embarked on a mission to empower communities through an innovative sexual health walk conducted on September 2, 2023.

Dispelling Misconceptions and Fostering Awareness

*Volunteers educating community members on safe sex

The primary objective of this initiative was to educate community members about the critical significance of sexual health. The health walk sought to dispel the prevalent myths and misconceptions surrounding sexual lifestyles, which have resulted in a broad range of negative outcomes, including the spread of disease, early pregnancy, and a lack of sexual satisfaction. SRHIN intended to bridge this information gap and empower individuals to take charge of their sexual health through open communication channels, engaging debates, and widespread broadcasts.

Educating Women About Condoms and Promoting Safe Practises

The distribution of crucial information regarding the use of female contraceptives was one of the most significant components of the walk. SRHIN identified the importance of empowering individuals, notably women, with the knowledge and tools necessary for their sexual health and well-being. In addition, male and female condoms were distributed to encourage community members to adopt secure sexual practices.


*Volunteers educating the community in their local language.

By providing access to these preventative measures, SRHIN made a proactive step towards preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies.

Emphasizing Consent and Breaking Taboos

Consent is essential for a healthy sexual relationship. By emphasising the significance of a clear and unequivocal “yes,” the initiative aimed to empower individuals to establish and respect their partners’ boundaries. Additionally, the health walk is intended to eliminate sex-related social taboos and stigmas.  The health walk endeavored to create an environment of acceptance and equality in which open dialogues about sexual health are not only encouraged but prioritized.

Redefining Pleasure: Debunking Misconceptions

SRHIN also aimed to challenge prevailing myths about sexual pleasure. It emphasized that pleasure is not a performance-based goal, but rather an exploration of one’s body and an understanding of their partner’s desires and boundaries. The initiative debunked the notion that sexual enjoyment is solely dependent on penetration, emphasising that oral sex and other forms of stimulation can also lead to gratification. In addition, SRHIN debunked the myth that women cannot experience orgasms as readily as men, emphasising that orgasmic ability varies from person to person and may necessitate different types of stimulation.


By providing accurate information to communities, dispelling misconceptions, and advocating for safe practices, SRHIN has taken a significant step towards empowering individuals to make informed decisions regarding their sexual health. Through open conversations, the initiative has fostered a culture of acceptance and equality by dismantling sex-related taboos and stigmas. Thus, SRHIN has paved the way for healthier, better-informed communities in which sexual health is recognised as a fundamental human right.

*Learn more about SRHIN at

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Health and Safety

Heavy Downpour Leaves Lagos-Badagry Expressway Flooded; Residents Groan 



FOGCILS Gives Assurances of Support to APC, Sanwo-Olu

Hundreds of motorists and passengers going to Mile 2 were on Saturday stranded as flood from morning downpour disrupted free movement on the Trade Fair and Abule -Ado axis of the Lagos- Badagry Expressway.

The resultant flood from the downpour also blocked the trade fair axis, temporarily impeding the movement of vehicles on the expressway.

NAN also reports that the rainfall, which started at 5.00 a.m. and continued for hours, forced many passengers to come down from commercial vehicles and resort to trekking from Abule-Ado to Barracks in Ojo.

Some passengers and motorists urged the Lagos State Government to clear the drainage to avert such flood incidents.

FOGCILS Gives Assurances of Support to APC, Sanwo-Olu

*Lagos State Governor, Sanwo-Olu

Mrs Ibironke Adegboyega, a trader in Ebute-Aro, Lagos Island, said that the flood had prevented her from going to open her shop.

*Another passenger trying to cross from one side of Lagos Badagry expressway to the other during the downpour on Saturday.

“The flood has completely blocked the expressway, some vehicles that tried to access the road had been trapped in the flood.

“The drainage is blocked by plastics and nylon preventing the passage of the water.

“Lagos government should wake up to its responsibility and clear the drainage, they should also warn the traders against indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

“I have to go back home now because it is dangerous to force your way in there due to the flood,” she said.

*Commuters trekking due to flood caused the morning downpour  in Lagos

Mr Toyosi Stephen, a passenger, said the blockage of the expressway was due to the way the contractor handling the project constructed the road.

“One will see that from Abule-Ado down to the Trade fair axis is very sloppy making water to gather under the bridge.

“This also applies to when you are coming from Barracks down to Trade fair, so the water coming from Abule-Ado and Barracks will gather at trade fair and block the movement of vehicles and passengers.

“Government should work on this and also ensure clearing of drainage around this place all the time.

“I have been trapped here, I have to go back to Agbara and sleep,” he said.

*The blockage at the Trade fair axis of Lagos Badagry expressway.

Mr Mutiu Suru, a bus conductor, said the flood would reduce when the rain stopped and that vehicles and passengers would be able to move freely on the expressway.

“The rain is heavy, that’s why the flood blocked the road, but I can tell you that in an hour’s time, vehicles will start going.

“All we need to do is to exercise patience and relax in our vehicles,” he said.

NAN reports that the floods also affected communities in Badagry including Mowo, Ikoga, Ansarudeen, Ajara-Vetho, Aghelaso, and Zogakome areas.

  • NAN
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