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London: Mercy Ships UK honoured in healthcare awards

Mercy Ships UK has been presented with a special recognition award for its excellence in delivering free medical care to the world’s forgotten poor ...

Mercy Ships UK has been presented with a special recognition award for its excellence in delivering free medical care to the world’s forgotten poor. The award handed over at the Zenith Global Healthcare Practitioners Awards in London this week.

Mercy Ships operates the world’s largest charity hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, to provide free healthcare services to those living in developing countries, namely in Africa, where the services of professional medical staff are most needed.

The Africa Mercy is currently docked in the port of Cotonou, Benin, for a 10-month field service during which the international team of medical volunteers will perform 1,700 life-changing surgeries on-board and treat over 8,000 people at a land-based dental clinic.

The Zenith Global Healthcare Practitioners Awards celebrates ‘excellence in healthcare’ and the healthcare professionals who selflessly make it happen. The awards ceremony took place in Selsdon Park Hotel on Saturday 5 November.

Accepting the award on behalf of the charity, consultant maxillofacial and thyroid surgeon Dr Leo Cheng, said: “It is an honour to be representing Mercy Ships UK this evening. After volunteering for the charity for 12 years, I can truly say it is an inspirational charity to be involved in.

“I look forward to returning to the ship in January, and this time my wife and two daughters will be volunteering alongside me. By giving, we receive far more in return. The volunteers aren’t there for money, because we pay for the privilege to serve, nor are they there for their own professional gain. Instead, every volunteer is there to bring hope and healing to the desperate patients of Africa, using our skills to transform and restore value to so many patients’ lives.”

Lea Milligan, Executive Director of Mercy Ships UK, said: “On behalf of the charity I would like to thank Zenith Global Health for this honour. The volunteers on board our floating hospital are the lifeline of our charity – the work they do is completely life changing for so many.

“We have an incredibly high calibre of volunteers on board. From the UK alone, our volunteering effort was valued at £1.8 million last year. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, so many of the patients treated on the ship really do start to believe that a brighter future lies ahead.”

Speaking on behalf of the organising committee of Zenith Global Health, Mary Akangbe, added: “We believe in the vision and mission of Mercy Ships and this award recognises their amazing work of bringing hope and healing to thousands of people year in, year out.”

PHOTOS (from top down):

Dr Leo Cheng on Africa Mercy with patient (credit: Ruben Plomp)
Dr Leo and Hilary Cheng with representative of Zenith Global Health (credit: Zenith Global Health)
Africa Mercy (credit: Mercy Ships)

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