My service with Mercy Ships on the m/v Africa Mercy

Please join me on my African Mercy Mission! Photos: Debra Bell

Email: /
Phone the ship: 1-954-538-6110 - ext 1610

Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Who Is Mercy Ships?
Mercy Ships, a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations since 1978, is the leader in using ships to deliver free world-class health care and community development services to the world's forgotten poor. Mercy Ships has chosen to follow the 2,000 year-old model of Jesus: the blind see, the lame walk, the mute speak. Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the forgotten poor by mobilizing people and resources worldwide, and serving all people without regard for race, gender, or religion. The newest vessel the m/v Africa Mercy is the world's largest charity hospital ship, with six operating theatres, 78 hospital beds and crew of 450 + volunteers. Ship specs: length-152m, breadth-23.7m
(for more info go to my Jan 2011 archive: MERCY SHIPS and the m/v AFRICA MERCY HISTORY: 1/14/2011 update)

PARTNERSHIP WITH DEBRA: Please prayerfully consider partnering with me as I serve the ministry of Mercy Ships and the forgotten poor of the nations of West Africa. I am the ship's photographer, capturing impacting visuals that enable Mercy Ships to share with the world the hope and healing of a better life for the people of West Africa. We as volunteers are required to raise funds for participation in Mercy Ships project expenses such as crew fees and living expenses. Your donations, prayers and encouragement will make a great difference in the lives of the people we serve. It will allow me the honor to partner with you and enable me to continue serving long term with Mercy Ships. Thank you to those who have blessed me with friendships, partnerships & prayer support. Many lives have been changed including my own. For this I am eternally grateful.

1) Donate Directly On Line
2) Send tax-deductible checks payable to Mercy Ships, indicate on a separate note donation for Mercy Ships Project #2077

CANADIAN Donations mail checks to:
Donor Services, Mercy Ships Canada, #5-3318 Oak St, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8X 1R1, Toll Free ph: 1-866-900-7447 /
To set up credit card or debit donations: Ph: 250-381-2160
web: / email:
(Identify donations with Project #2077)

CANADIAN Direct ON LINE Donations click here: (Identify donation by Project #2077)

USA & other Country Donations mail checks to:
Donor Services, Mercy Ships Shipmates, Box 2020, Lindale, TX, USA, 75771, Ph: +1-903-939-7190
(Identify donations with Project #USMS2077
USA Toll Free ph: 1-800-772-7447 /

USA & other Country Direct ON LINE Donations click here:

Mercy Ships Crew Mates -Debra's Bio Donate-Contribute Now. (Identify donation by Project #2077)

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Clubfoot is an embryonic malformation causing a normal foot into becoming clubfoot during the second trimester. An ultrasound may detect it by the 16th week. This abnormality is very common in West African countries and can negatively affect a child’s life, often making them an outcast.

Mercy Ships doctors have initiated the Ponseti Management Program, developed over 50 years ago by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti and used throughout the world to correct Clubfoot. This is the first time it has been used in West Africa.

Dr. James McDaniel, Mercy Ships Ponseti team director began the program a month ago and since then, several children have received castings with positive results.

Baby Anne Akouette, one of a twin, had her first casting less than two weeks after birth.  According to Dr. James, "This is the ideal time to start because the bones so easily adapt to the position the cast is reinforcing". He added that, “we’re getting amazing corrections in the older children that we wouldn’t have cast in the past. They would have gone right to surgery.”
This is a favored program because it is gentle, safe, and effective. It requires a minor surgery to allow the Achilles tendon to grow with the foot. Other countries such as Uganda and Brazil now have a national program in place, and are correcting between 90 and 95 per cent of all Clubfoot cases.


The Mercy Ships team is working with the CNAO Clinic and Rehab Center in Lome, training ten members of the clinic's orthopedic team in the Ponseti technique. The training will provide the skills necessary for the clinic's team to further continue the casting progress for those children who have had a series of ponseti manipulations and recastings during this field service.  The training will also provide the team with skills to assist others in great need in their nation.

Following the casting, many of the children will need to wear a metal brace which connects to their shoes and meant to be worn at night while sleeping to maintain the correction achieved by casting.

The full cost for the four-year program per patient is one hundred dollars. But here in Africa, this is well beyond what most parents can afford.  Casting materials and all other needed supplies for 50 children will be provided by Mercy Ships during the six month field service.  It is hoped that funding can be found to keep the clinic supplied with materials for future cases of Clubfoot.

Dr. Frank Haydon, who developed such a brace, is teaching veteran Togolese shoe maker Albert Kpatchou Mawougnan the specifics required in the production of the brace. Albert has been making shoes for problem feet since 1980, when a local lawyer asked him to make an experimental pair for his child. Orthopedist Heabe Raiz, who has been with the clinic for four years, is taking a leading role in the Ponseti procedure and the proper use of the brace.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.