The Mercy Ship Anastasis has docked in Monrovia, Liberia. Thousands struggle to survive in this war-torn country where elections have recently taken place after 14 years of civil war. Mercy Ships had an election observer in Monrovia for the recent first round of the presidential and legislative elections. The second round is scheduled for November 8th.
In Liberia there is only one physician per 50,000 people. Over the coming seven months, Mercy Ships will provide essential medical services free of charge to the poor.
Speaking during a colorful program to welcome the hospital ship
’s return to Liberia’s shores, Dr. Peter Coleman, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, welcomed the crew to a safe and peaceful Liberia.
During the ship’s last visit to Liberia, medical personnel onboard treated 26 year-old Ruth David. For five years a tumor had been growing on her jaw. As it grew, it closed off her windpipe, slowly suffocating her. Ruth was desperate for help. She explains, “I used to cry, I used to say I’m going to kill myself because I don’t have anywhere to go to get help.”
Mercy Ships surgeon Dr. Gary Parker removed Ruth’s tumor and a majority of her lower jaw to make room for a new titanium jaw. Ruth is now scheduled for a second surgery to graph a bone from Ruth’s hip to become her new jawbone. Dr. Parker reports, “Ruth had a good surgery, we were able to remove all the tumor that was there, which means that recurrence rate is very, very small. The tumor was small by West African standards, they can get very large and sadly, death by suffocation or starvation are two of the things that face these people.”
The story of Mercy Ships is told in Ships of Mercy, published in 2005 by Hodder & Stoughton UK and Thomas Nelson US and is available