Global humanitarian organisation Mercy Ships has appointed APO Group, the leading pan-African communications consultancy and press release distribution service, as its public relations and communications partner in Africa.
Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has deployed hospital ships to countries all over the world, delivering safe, free surgical care and medical training to people who lack access. The charity is also committed to transforming surgical systems and helping nations build robust healthcare models for the future.
Across four decades, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 55 countries, and provided services valued at more than $1.7bn. For more than 30 years, Mercy Ships has focused its work in Africa, where there is a prevalent need for this unique charity. More than 93% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa cannot afford many surgical procedures that should be a basic human right.
2022: A new era for Mercy Ships
Mercy Ships and APO Group have been working together since January 2022 with the goal of raising international awareness of several key events.
In early May, APO Group worked with Mercy Ships in the communication of an important International Symposium, where representatives from 29 African nations gathered to develop a roadmap to accelerate access to surgical, obstetric and anesthetic care in Africa by 2030.
In late May, the Global Mercy, the world’s largest purpose-built civilian hospital ship, sailed to Dakar for its maiden voyage to Africa.
At the end of May, the Global Mercy was inaugurated by the HE President Macky Sall, president of Senegal and current chair of the African Union, accompanied by representatives from Cameroon, the Union of Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau Comoros Islands, and Guinea-Bissau. Representatives from visiting nations made an early commitment to the ‘Dakar Declaration’ – a commitment to accelerate access to surgical, obstetric, and anesthetic care in Africa by 2030 and currently being driven forward by HE President Macky Sall in his role as head of the African Union.
In June, the Global Mercy welcomed more than 300 local healthcare professionals on board for medical training. A variety of courses were conducted including surgical skills, safe anesthesia, and nursing skills with the aim of building robust healthcare models for the future.
APO Group’s pan-African communications expertise supported Mercy Ships in putting together a strong media campaign in the run-up to these events. Thanks to its strategic advice and unique tools, APO Group maximised media coverage and ensured new audiences all across Africa got to hear of the vital work Mercy Ships.
Across the campaign, Mercy Ships received: more than 4,000 pieces of online coverage; 14 pieces of print coverage in major international titles such as Le Figaro and Le Monde; 15 YouTube videos from media outlets; 74 pieces of social media coverage; 45 local and international media attendees at the Global Mercy inauguration and other Africa Celebration events; and more than 20 interviews with renowned journalists.
The total PR value generated by APO Group’s media activity was over US$100m.
APO Group is committed to working with public health and humanitarian organisations like Mercy Ships to ensure people across the African continent have access to crucial and reliable information. Since 2020, APO Group has facilitated fortnightly online press conferences for the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa. APO Group is also a trusted partner of the African Union and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
“As the unquestionable leader in pan-African public relations, APO Group is perfectly placed to help us reach new international audiences, and foster new collaborations and partnerships with organisations all over the continent,” said Jitze Kramer, Global branding and communications, Mercy Ships.
“We are delighted to be working so closely with Mercy Ships” said Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, chairman and founder of APO Group. “Theirs is an inspirational mission that is responsible for changing thousands of lives all over Africa. We are here to make sure they make even more of an impact on the world stage."