Senegal to host international health strengthening symposium in Africa

Mercy Ships staffer playing with a child

As Mercy Ships (www.MercyShips.Africa) marks its 30 years of service in Africa, the global humanitarian organisation will strengthen its partnerships with African countries and stakeholders in the health sector by co-hosting a number of events in May and June 2022. The first event will be an International Symposium (IS) on Strengthening Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthetic Care Systems in Africa by 2030 between May 4 – 6 in Dakar, Senegal.

The International Symposium is jointly organised by the Government of Senegal, Mercy Ships, the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa, the West African College of Surgeons, Smile Train and other partners. Bringing together over 200 participants including several African Ministers of Health, it is a unique opportunity to create a continental roadmap for strengthening access to surgical, obstetric and anaesthetic care in Africa by 2030.

His Excellency Mr. Macky Sall, the Head of State and Current Chairman of the African Union notes, “It is a privilege and an honour to welcome the new ship of Mercy Ships to Senegal, the Global Mercy, the largest civilian hospital ship in the world. This event will coincide with other activities such as a symposium based on the challenges of surgical and obstetric care in Africa. Experts will intervene on the 2020-30 vision for surgery in Africa and the issues at stake. I invite Africans to fully participate in any activity that promotes solidarity and assistance. I believe some have already done so, but we need everyone to embrace this vision.”

The International Symposium on Strengthening Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthetic Care Systems in Africa by 2030 will take place over the two following events at the King Fahd Hotel in Dakar, Senegal: an Expert Meeting on May 4 & 5 and a Minister of Health Summit on May 6.

The Symposium will feature discussions around the current state of surgical, obstetric, and anaesthetic care in Africa including gaps, prioritized targets, implementation strategies and investments. The first two days will include the delivery of an assessment about the state of surgical, obstetric and anaesthetic care in WHO’s Africa Region. The outcome will be a regional plan that will be endorsed by the African Ministers of Health.

Following the Symposium, the world’s largest civilian purpose-built hospital ship – the Global Mercy – will be commissioned at the port of Dakar in Senegal on June 2. During this event, Mercy Ships will commemorate 30 years of partnership on the continent together with other African nations in attendance. The 37,000 GRT Global Mercy will serve together with the first hospital ship Africa Mercy currently docked in Dakar. Mercy Ships expects to more than double the impact of its work with the new vessel, both with life-changing operations and providing medical trainings to local caregivers.

A Presidential Conversation will be held on the same day in Dakar as a dialogue between African Heads of State, international leaders, “African Friends of Mercy Ships”, “Friends of Africa” on leadership for equitable access to surgical, obstetric, and anaesthetic care in Africa.

Finally, June 2nd will be highlighted by the signing of the Dakar Declaration on Strengthening Surgical, Obstetric and Anaesthetic Care Systems in Africa by 2030.

For more information about joining the key press conference on 6th May and to access the press pack, please visit

Source: Mercy Ships.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende