Mercy Ships and South African Society of Anesthesiologists (SASA) Empower Medical Practitioners through Safer Anesthetics From Education (SAFE) Training Courses in South Africa

Mercy Ships and South African Society of Anesthesiologists (SASA) Empower Medical Practitioners through Safer Anesthetics From Education (SAFE) Training Courses in South Africa

Mercy Ships and South African Society of Anesthesiologists (SASA) Empower Medical Practitioners through Safer Anesthetics From Education (SAFE) Training Courses in South Africa
Mercy Ships and South African Society of Anesthesiologists (SASA) Empower Medical Practitioners through Safer Anesthetics From Education (SAFE) Training Courses in South Africa

Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships (www.MercyShips.Africa) hosted a three-day training course in Pietermaritzburg KwaZulu-Natal, to teach medical professionals how to administer safer anesthesia during surgeries. This initiative is part of an ongoing commitment to empower medical professionals in Africa through SAFE (safer anesthetics from education) courses. These courses are designed to enhance skills in obstetric and pediatric anesthesia delivery, and critical complications management during surgeries, resulting in improved safety standards and better healthcare outcomes.

The three-day training in Pietermaritzburg forms part of a broader series of eight specialized courses scheduled to take place throughout the country. These training programs are being conducted collaboratively with the South African Department of Health (DoH), the South African Society of Anesthesiologists (SASA), and Mercy Ships. Participants will have the invaluable opportunity to learn from seasoned Mercy Ships anesthetists and SASA instructors, who have a wealth of experience in teaching SAFE courses.

Each of the courses will be conducted over a three-day period and will provide a comprehensive and hands-on learning experience for medical professionals. The curriculum includes a mix of lectures, low-tech simulations, discussions, and roleplay to ensure participants gain practical skills and knowledge. The SAFE approach incorporates Mercy Ships’ expertise alongside that of local instructors. These instructors undergo a rigorous “train the trainers” program, preparing them to serve as the in-country faculty of the future.

The courses are rooted in time-tested methods and insights gleaned from SAFE courses developed by the Association of Anesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI), ensuring the highest standards of training and education for medical professionals.

“As Mercy Ships, we are extremely proud to be a part of this transformative journey providing vital training to medical practitioners and contributing to safer anesthesia practices for the benefit of mothers and children. The support of the SASA and DoH officials has been instrumental in making these courses possible, ensuring the growth of medical capabilities and the overall well-being of patients in the region,” says Brenda van Straten, Director of Mercy Ships, South Africa.

Dr Caroline Corbett, President of SASA adds that the collaboration between the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists and Mercy Ships in the delivery of these SAFE courses will have an impact on our communities and our nation well beyond the program delivery itself. “The collective investment and prioritisation of access to and training in safe, quality healthcare for our most vulnerable patients inspires hope and builds towards the sustainability of healthcare resources required for our future. SASA looks forward to many more such initiatives and proudly acknowledges our members who have selflessly contributed their time to enabling these projects through the support of Mercy Ships,” says Dr Corbett. “It is through planting these foundations of education together that we are able to grow stronger, broader healthcare services and delivery.”

“It is a privilege to be part of a team striving towards learning, improving and enhancing skills in Paediatric Anaesthesia. Knowledge changes uncertainty and fear into confident safe practices. Thank you to Mercy Ships, DOH and faculty for your support and commitment to making this course successful,” comments Dr Chantal Rajah, Facilitator of the Pietermaritzburg course.

Over the past two years, Mercy Ships has forged a dynamic partnership with SASA, addressing an urgent need within the country. This collaboration has led to the successful delivery of these courses in South Africa, empowering medical professionals to elevate their skills and bolster patient care.

All the courses are designed to enhance the skills of qualified medical professionals, ensuring safer anesthesia practices for mothers and children. Mercy Ships is fully funding these courses, and participation is offered free of charge to the attendees. Notably, the DoH has generously extended its support to ensure the success of these training programs, demonstrating its dedication to improving medical capabilities and patient safety.

The training in Pietermaritzburg was held from August 18th to 20th at Northdale Hospital. The remaining courses scheduled for this year include September 13th to 15th SAFE Paeds Gqeberha, Livingstone Hospital; September 22nd to 24th SAFE Obs Mbombela, Mpumalanga, and December 1st to 6th SAFE Obs and Paeds, East London.

Of note, Mercy Ships successfully conducted three training courses earlier this year, reflecting its steadfast dedication to nurturing medical excellence. These courses included: February 17th to 19th SAFE Paeds Gqeberha, Livingstone Hospital; February 27th to March 1st SAFE Obs + Training of the Trainers, Bloemfontein Kopano Nokeng; and July 28th to 30th SAFE Obs Limpopo, Polokwane, St Maria’s. One of the recent courses took place at Northdale Hospital, KwaZulu Natal, where officials from the DoH, SASA, and Mercy Ships came together to support local medical professionals in their pursuit of excellence.

The ongoing partnership between Mercy Ships, SASA, and the DoH exemplifies a shared commitment to enhance healthcare delivery and improve medical capabilities across South Africa. By empowering medical professionals with specialized training, these organizations collectively strive to make a positive impact on anesthesia care ensuring safer procedures for mothers and children throughout South Africa.

For further information about the upcoming courses or to inquire about participation, please visit Mercy Ships’ website Together, we can make a significant difference, accelerating access to surgical care and surgical education and creating a brighter future for communities.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Mercy Ships.

For More Information Contact:
Brenda van Straten
Director, South Africa, Mercy Ships

Diane Rickard
International Media Relations Manager
Mercy Ships
Press page:

About Mercy Ships:
Mercy Ships operates hospital ships that deliver free surgeries and other healthcare services to those with little access to safe medical care. An international faith-based organization, Mercy Ships has focused entirely on partnering with African nations for the past three decades. Working with in-country partners, Mercy Ships also provides training to local healthcare professionals and supports the construction of in-country medical infrastructure to leave a lasting impact.

Each year, more than 3,000 volunteer professionals from over 60 countries serve on board the world’s two largest non-governmental hospital ships, the Africa Mercy® and the Global Mercy™. Professionals such as surgeons, dentists, nurses, health trainers, cooks, and engineers dedicate their time and skills to accelerate access to safe surgical, obstetric and anaesthetic care. Mercy Ships was founded in 1978 and has offices in 16 countries as well as an Africa Service Center in Dakar, Senegal. For more information, visit and follow @MercyShips on social media.