Calgarians change lives on Africa Mercy, one of world’s largest floating hospitals

Click to play video: 'Mission Madagascar II: Inside the Africa Mercy floating hospital'
Mission Madagascar II: Inside the Africa Mercy floating hospital
WATCH ABOVE: Global’s Jayme Doll takes a look inside the world's largest floating hospital, and the volunteer health workers from Calgary who are making a difference. Watch part two of her special series, Mission Madagascar, for more on the Africa Mercy – May 25, 2016

TAMATAVE, Madagascar – Wrapped in bandages, with their limbs stretched out straight in splints, a troop of children run up and down the halls of a hospital as best they can. Their beaming smiles and little-girl giggles mask any sign of suffering–but they know it well.

They are all postoperative patients, recovering from plastic surgery to help heal their burn scars. Some are so severe it has prevented their limbs from moving.

The hospital looks like any medical centre you’d find in Canada, but zoom out, and you’ll realize it is anything but ordinary.

It’s a ship: the world’s largest non-governmental floating hospital, in port on the east coast of Madagascar.

MISSION MADAGASCAR PART I: Calgary woman brings infection prevention to Madagascar hospitals

The Africa Mercy is a floating vessel of hope, bringing doctors and nurses to the shores of those less fortunate. Calgary nurse Tara McHardy has volunteered in the ship’s operating rooms six times. She says many patients come to believe their suffering will be lifelong–until they go on board.

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“Sometimes we’ll see adults come in and they have 40 years of having a cleft lip, and they’ve probably been shunned from their village,” McHardy said.

“They’ve been known as the ‘cleft lip guy.’ Then we do a surgery that only takes up to an hour, and they just stare at themselves in the mirrors.”

“It’s amazing the life change you can do."

Watch Jayme Doll’s story above, part II in her Mission Madagascar series, to learn more about the other Calgarians making a difference on board the Africa Mercy.

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