What if your technical skills could allow thousands of African patients to receive free, and transformational surgical care?

Through Mercy Ships, your biomedical, clinical, or electronic technical training could do just that! As a humanitarian organisation that utilises hospital ships, its purpose is to make healthcare easily accessible to those on the coasts of West and Central Africa as well as offer mentoring and training programs to local healthcare professionals.

Tony Royston served as the Biomedical Technician and lived onboard the Africa Mercy with his wife, Patricia, and son, Elliot, from 2008-2018.“It’s not another hospital on land; no, it is built specifically for serving the needs of the people that we seek to reach,” says Tony Royston, the Mercy Ships Hospital Procurement and Commissioning Engineering Manager. Though demographically and vocationally diverse, the volunteers who join Mercy Ships work to make a lasting impact in the nations they serve.

Currently, the Africa Mercy is the only ship on the waters. However, as of next year, Mercy Ships plans to launch a brand new, purpose-built floating hospital ship, the Global Mercy.

Upon completion, she will leave China and set sail for the Philippines, where she will be outfitted for 14 weeks. During this time, all the medical equipment for the hospital will be installed onboard.

According to Royston, without the correct installation of that equipment, “There would be no point in taking the ship to the field. Sure, we could do capacity building and other training to an extent, but we certainly wouldn’t have a hospital.” Though surgeons, nurses, radiographers, pharmacists, dieticians, and physiotherapists are key players in the medical mission of Mercy Ships, biomedical technicians and engineers are vital to the functioning of the hospital ship.

The impact that Mercy Ships has on countries with fragile healthcare systems is almost incalculable. As well as the lifesaving treatments for patients, the local professionals who receive training onboard have their lives changed as well.

Emmanuel Essah was one such training recipient. When the Africa Mercy traveled to his home country Benin, Essah joined the crew as a translator for the Dental team. It was here that he met Tony Royston who encouraged Essah to train as a biomedical engineer.

Emmanuel Essah training new engineers

“I asked Mr. Royston ‘What does a biomedical engineer do?’ Then he explained that he is responsible for the repair, calibration, maintenance and installation of the medical equipment onboard. By the time, he finished explaining, I knew right away that biomedical engineering was something I wanted to pursue.”

Essah did just that and has continued to volunteer with Mercy Ships. He is now a Biomedical Project Manager, facilitating training for even more people.

Essah is looking forward to getting to work on the Global Mercy. “I think it is a unique and exciting opportunity to be part of the team that will set up the medical equipment on the new ship. I am looking forward to working with various team members to set up the hospital equipment. Being a biomedical engineer with Mercy Ships will challenge you, you will make sure that medical equipment used to bring hope and healing to the patient is reliable.”


Mercy Ships is looking for nine Biomedical Project Assistants to join the team of biomedical/electronic technicians during the Global Mercy’s outfitting phase. The right candidates could join for as little as two weeks.

With a variety of skills on this team, responsibilities would range from installing, setting up, and commissioning the whole range of patient-connected equipment used in a modern hospital. Team members would be assigned to work in several areas including low and high acuity wards, the ICU and ICU simulation/training suite, the laboratory, operating theatres, decontamination & sterilisation (CPD/CSSD), the dental clinic, ophthalmic examination areas, and many others. 

With the installation complete, there would need to be commissioning and acceptance testing of the CT, digital X-ray, and ultrasound imaging systems.

As well as technical experience, applicants must have basic competence in Microsoft Office for documentation purposes. If advice is needed on the job, there would be experienced team members onboard as well as over the phone.

We welcome applications from a variety of disciplines. The ideal person may specialise in X-ray, or ultrasound; perhaps even anaesthetic or respiratory maintenance engineering. Or maybe you have a solid general electronics background. Whether you have a hospital engineering background or slightly less experience, this unique commissioning opportunity is one not to miss! You would be working in a supportive team with very experienced colleagues.


By joining in the Philippines, you would be ensuring the service of Mercy Ships continues to reach some of the world’s forgotten poor! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use your professional skills as part of a mission that is transforming the lives through surgical healthcare.

If you would like to find out more about partnering with us at this crucial time, visit: www.mercyships.org.uk/volunteer.


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