Sea Mercy’s Floating Health Care Clinic Answers A Call For Help In The South Pacific
Fiji, Vanuatu, Tahiti, Palau, Tonga, Samoa… Just hearing the names of those islands conjures up travel brochure images; warm tropical sun setting in the distance over blue turquoise waters, palm trees leaning towards the ocean, luxurious air conditioned hotels and honeymoon getaways nestled on secluded, white sandy beaches beckons you from afar. As real and appealing as those images may be, there is another calling in the South Pacific that few know about, and fewer still allow themselves to hear. It is a call that pleads with us to respond with the same intensity and clarity. It’s an urgent call for medical help.
In the South Pacific, there are no roads, power lines, or phone systems to connect the smaller, less populated, islands to the same services offered on the more populated, primary islands. Sadly, these remote islands are left without even the most basic of health care services.
Having sailed in the South Pacific, Richard and Stephanie Hackett witnessed both the incredible beauty and hardships faced by those living on the remote islands. Seeing the need, they began reaching out to the island nations to learn more about the health care initiatives they had for their remote island citizens. “That was when we learned the reality of the situation for the remote citizens,” said Richard Hackett, Founder of Sea Mercy. “Although the islands nations were striving to build a modern health care infrastructure on their larger, more populated, primary islands, there was no service delivery mechanism in place, or funds available to try and connect their remote islands to even the most basic of health care services. That is when we decided to find a solution.”
Working directly with the island nation’s health ministry leaders, in 2012, Hackett and his wife launched the non-profit 501(c)3 organization named Sea Mercy (www.seamercy.org), a Floating Health Care Clinic (FHCC) staffed by U.S.-based health care volunteers to answer the South Pacific’s call for help. The FHCC is a modified sailing catamaran that carries doctors, dentists, optometrist, nurses, dental assistants, and pharmacy technicians and the necessary supplies to these remote islands in order to deliver the care, medicines and services needed. “We selected the sailing catamaran as the delivery platform for the FHCC.” Hackett explained, “It provides the best fuel efficiency, a shallow draft that allows us access to almost any lagoon or shallow harbor, and a more stable and spacious platform for treating patients than traditional wind or engine powered mono-hull designs.“
The FHCC will focus on fulfilling the following health care needs:
Preventive – Providing immunizations, examinations, and evaluations.
Curative – Providing treatments, minor surgeries, and limited pharmaceutical care.
Promotional – Health education and training of local citizens on better health practices and there by reduce health care needs.
Rehabilitative – Helping islanders return to a productive life through corrective treatment of physical ailments and impairments.
For more information visit www.seamercy.org