"If all the medical discoveries, technologies, teachings and staff training remains unavailable to 30-40% of a targeted community, can we really call it a success?"
In the USA, we are blessed with the medical infrastructure and staff that is available to the majority of our population, but in the South Pacific, there are no roads, power lines, or phone systems to connect the smaller, less populated, islands to the same health care services offered on the more populated, primary islands. Sadly, these remote islands are left without even the most basic of health care services, creating an incredible disparity between the remote islands and primary islands in terms of overall health, infant mortality and immunization rates, and longevity.
There are also no disaster response platforms available to deliver international aid to these remote islanders. With earthquakes and tsunami's in the South Pacific becoming a yearly event, the need for disaster response is even more urgent than before. Providing these necessary health care and disaster relief services to South Pacific remote islands is the very reason that Sea Mercy was created.
Sea Mercy (www.seamercy.org) is a US based 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a simple vision and mission to "stand in the gap" with a service delivery vessel, trained health volunteers, support equipment, and critical care services as our island nation partners develop their "outer island" health care infrastructure. Operating from a fleet of large sailing catamarans, Sea Mercy provides and staffs free Floating Health Care Clinics (FHCC) for our island nation partners remote islands. These FHCC's also serve as training and educational platforms and acts as disaster response vessels for these neglected remote island citizens of the South Pacific.
There are eleven island nation communities that Sea Mercy will be targeting for this program through 2017, each in desperate need for health care assistance to be delivered to their large number of remote islands. To better understand the sheer numbers and challenges, below is a list of our island nation partners and their number of islands:
- The Kingdom of Tonga (1 primary island, 176 remote islands)*
- The Republic of Fiji (2 primary islands, 332 remote islands)*
- Solomon Islands (5 primary islands, 900+ remote islands)
- Federated States of Micronesia (4 primary islands, 607 remote islands)
- Palau (3 primary islands, 250 remote islands)
- Vanuatu (2 primary islands, 81 remote islands)
- The Marshall Islands (1 primary island, 34 remote islands)
- Kiribati (1 primary island, 32 remote islands)
- The Cook Islands (2 primary islands, 13 remote islands)
- The Mariana Islands (1 primary islands, 14 remote islands)
- Tuvalu (1 primary island, 8 remote islands)
* Program currently in place and operational.
Our FHCC's and volunteers effectively delivered the following health care services at each stop:
- Preventive - Providing immunizations, examinations, and evaluations.
- Curative - Providing treatments, minor surgeries, and limited pharmaceutical care.
- Promotional - Delivering health education and training of local citizens with regards to better health practices, maternal issues, and chronic care needs (i.e. diabetes).
- Rehabilitative - Helping islanders return to a productive life through corrective treatment of physical ailments, impairments, dental or eye care needs.
- Disaster response - relocating to meet the need in the South Pacific.
We have received multiple requests from our target island nations to have Sea Mercy operate a FHCC for them. We are currently working directly with the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Tonga and with the Ministry of Health in The Republic of Fiji. We have three FHCC vessels operating in 2014 (45' catamaran, a 60' catamaran, and a 65' catamaran) and two additional catamarans arriving in 2015 to begin FHCC operations. We have a growing "waiting list" of vessel owners who desire to work with Sea Mercy, but we will not add them to the fleet until we have the available volunteers and finances to support them. We have partnered with two US based medical supplies providers who can deliver the yearly medical supplies and medicines needed for our FHCCs.
As you can see, the needs on the remote islands of the South Pacific are tremendous, as is our determination and plan to see them met. We hope you will join us either in person as a volunteer, or through your support of our programs.
Please contact us with any questions.