A HEALTH worker from South Yorkshire has been sailing the seas offering life-changing care on board the world’s largest hospital ship.
Alan Kershaw, an anaesthetist from Thurgoland, Barnsley, volunteered for three weeks on the Africa Mercy as it sailed around Sierra Leone on a 10-month outreach project.
Run by the international charity Mercy Ships, the boat offers free medical care and humanitarian aid to some of the world’s poorest people.
Alan, who works at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, volunteered with the on-board medical team who carried out a host of procedures including tumour removal, cleft lip and palate correction, cataract removal, orthopaedics, skin grafts for burns victims, and dental care.
Alan said: “I volunteered because I wanted to use my skills to help those less fortunate in the world.
“It was so wonderful to see the post-operative pictures of patients I had operated on and to see the hope and happiness on faces where previously there was suffering.”
Alan enjoyed the experience so much he has already signed up to work on the boat again.
Judy Polkinhorn, executive director of Mercy Ships UK, said: “Volunteers are the lifeline of the charity and without them we simply would not exist. We are extremely grateful to people around the UK like Alan, who continue to support us.”
Visit www.mercyships.org.uk for more information.