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Latest update : 2013-10-30

Mercy Ships: Hospital of Hope

France 24 goes on board the Africa Mercy. This floating hospital with a crew of 400 offers the most advanced health care for free to some of the poorest people in the world.

When the Africa Mercy docked in Congo Brazzaville for the first time earlier this year, a record number of people came forward, believing this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be healed. This week Down to Earth visits the hospital ship that's changing lives along the African west coast.

Africa Mercy is the world's largest floating charity hospital. It has eight decks, five operating theatres and one mission: to offer modern medical care, free of cost, to patients who are often crippled, disfigured or blind.

Over ten months, the volunteer crew will treat thousands of adults and children, many of them living with conditions that have left them marginalised in their communities.

In just a few days they leave the ship, not only cured but with a renewed sense of pride.

The ship's stop in Pointe Noire has also provided a new opportunity to train doctors and nurses in local hospitals, so that the Africa Mercy has a lasting impact long after it sets sail for its next port. 

By Mairead DUNDAS , Marina BERTSCH , Juliette LACHARNAY , Emilie COCHAUD

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