The pressing need for vastly improved access to surgical care across Africa has been amplified by an international health charity campaign that picked up a global PR award at the international SABRE awards in Washington, DC on Wednesday November 8th.
The Mercy Ships campaign, supported by APO Group, was celebrated for its creativity and strategic success on a global scale by the PRovoke Media SABRE Awards.
The award-winning African Celebration campaign effectively spotlighted the critical need for action to provide increased access to surgical, obstetric and anesthetic care and training across the continent.
Through compelling storytelling, engaging digital content, and advocacy initiatives, the campaign has ignited global conversations about healthcare disparities and the life-changing impact of surgical interventions. It also celebrated the charity’s 30 years of collaboration with African partners.
Mercy Ships is an international NGO that operates the largest civilian hospital ships in the world to deliver surgical care and medical training. By providing free, world-class surgical, obstetric, and anaesthetic care, the organisation brings hope and healing to those who need it most. It does this whilst also delivering training to local medical professionals in their area of expertise and improving healthcare infrastructure.
APO Group set out to amplify Mercy Ships’ visibility throughout the year, covering the main landmarks in the NGO’s activities and placing the organisation in publications across Africa, Europe, and North America, in print and online, as well as on social media. In total, the campaign achieved a PR value of USD$125 million, with over 4,000 pieces of online coverage.
The campaign previously won the 2023 PRovoke Africa SABRE Awards for Best Campaign in West Africa and Best Campaign for Not-for-Profit/Charities in May before being put forward for the global awards.
Jitze Kramer, VP Global Brand for Mercy Ships, said: “We are grateful for the recognition received from the SABRE Awards again. The collaboration with the APO team has led to outstanding communications and, more importantly, awareness for the need to increase access to surgical care in Africa.”
Kramer said the coverage received reinforced Mercy Ships’ relationship with governments and stakeholders in Africa and ultimately led to increasing the quality and capacity of its surgical interventions on the continent in collaboration with country experts.
The campaign and its coverage also highlighted the Dakar Declaration, which saw African Heads of State committing to a roadmap to accelerate access to surgical care and surgical education for everyone in Africa by 2030. This Declaration was endorsed on board international health charity Mercy Ship’s newest hospital ship, the Global Mercy™, as it docked in Dakar on May 20, 2022.
Mercy Ships International Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Shrime urged that the progress made, and highlighted by the award, needs continued and urgent action. He said: “The Dakar Declaration calls upon all African nations, key partners, and stakeholders to commit to scaling up surgical services, infrastructure, and personnel available for patients who need them. Mercy Ships stands solidly behind this call, recognizing that one person dies of a surgically treatable disease every two seconds.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Mercy Ships.