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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hospitality Centre

The Hospitality Center, situated about 3 ½ km. (two miles) from where the Africa Mercy is, opened its doors the first week in March. The 40-bed facility offers overnight provision for up to 90 patients awaiting surgeries and other procedures. It also provides on-land office space for eye services and other programs.
During its first week of operation, the Center handled pre-op and post-op services for 240 eye patients. 80 of those patients were receiving cataract surgery. Eye Specialist Woody Hopper, who heads the eye services office, estimates that 1600 eye patients will utilize the facility during this field service. The Center also housed 88 patients and caregivers overnight to prevent travel problems during Togo's recent national election. Surrounded by a gated cement wall, the Hospitality Center is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the tumultuous city of Lomé. It is housed in a government-owned clinic that is being transformed into a hospital. The Togolese government is allowing Mercy Ships to use one wing of the clinic for the duration of the Togo Field Service. Mercy Ships workers have replaced the leaky roof, installed electricity and air-conditioning, and done a thorough cleaning. The result is a sanitary, up-to-date, and pleasant environment for patients awaiting medical services.
The Hospitality Center is under the supervision of our Land-Based Programs Manager and a management team who share the workload. They are assisted by 22 day-volunteers, divided into teams to do maintenance, drive the shuttles, and assist guests. On the Centre's opening day, 30 patients received pre-op services before receiving their eye surgeries onboard the Africa Mercy . They returned to the Center for post-op care, including instructions and eye care products. Assistants translated instructions into French, Togo's official language, and Ewe, one of the country's most prevalent tribal languages.
You can often here the native drum and celebrated singing of people giving thanks to God. Faces glow with smiles, and arms rise in praise, as patients sing and move with the beat of the music. One eye patient, Kossi Diabo, smiled widely "I am very happy to be here this morning to get a healing from God " he said "and would thank Mercy Ships for what they are doing. First , I can't see anything. Now, I can see! May God encourage you and give you strength." Patients who undergo cataract surgery return for a laser procedure 6 weeks after surgery. When those treatments begin, a Celebration of Sight will be held every Friday for up to 120 patients, a wonderful opportunity to join together in thanking God for His goodness.

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