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Mercy Ship Arrives in Benin
Date:2/12/2009

Ministry of Health Coordinates North Benin Screening

Cotonou, Benin, West Africa (Vocus) February 12, 2009 -- The world's largest non-governmental hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, docked in Cotounou, Benin, this week to begin 10 months of specialized partnership with the nation's Ministry of Health.

The hospital ship's "Operation Access" screening team left Cotonou for two provincial capitals in North Benin shortly after docking with the goal of increasing access to health care services offered by the ship throughout the nation equitably. Posters and public service announcements were sent out ahead of the team appealing for family members to bring those with particular ailments to the North Benin screening sites this week.

The Africa Mercy's medical and development crew look forward to partnering with officials under the government of President Yayi Boni at the invitation of Benin's Ministry of Health.

"In a region of many failed or failing states, Benin has a government that respects basic human rights and freedoms, including improved access to health care," stated Mercy Ships Founder/President Don Stephens. "President Boni has stated that he eagerly awaits the arrival of our hospital ship to his nation, and I am full of hope that we can double the impact of our last visit with our new hospital ship," Stephens said.

This is the fourth visit by a Mercy Ship to Benin in the past 12 years. Liberia was the Africa Mercy's last tour of duty. Around 40 African crewmembers are included in the international complement of 35 nations represented by the 400 crew onboard.

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