Bringing health care to some of the poorest communities in the world by renovating Africa’s oldest motor ship, the Chauncy Maples.
Malawi in Central Africa is a quiet, peaceful country of immense beauty. However, it is one of the ten poorest nations in the world, with a life expectancy of only 50 years. For much of the thousand miles of shoreline of Lake Malawi, there are no roads and no access to health services. The only means of travel is by dug-out canoe, risking the dangerous currents, storms and crocodiles.
The Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust was founded in 2009 to support the Government of Malawi in renovating Africa's oldest ship back into a clinic on Lake Malawi, to serve the fishing villages in the north west with no access to health services. The Chauncy Maples project on Lake Malawi combines:
- health service delivery
- health research
- preservation of Malawi's marine heritage
- green engineering by recycling a 19th century vessel
- marine and engineering training
- national symbol of pride for Malawi
Why does Lake Malawi need a clinic?
More than 78% of Malawi's 16.3 million people live in poverty, with an income of less than US$1.25 per day. The under-five death rate is 178 per 1,000 live births – 30 times worse than that in Europe or America. There is only one doctor in Malawi for every 52,000 people.
Many Malawians who live along the lake have little or no access to medical care. Sick people can't work; sick children can't attend school.
Moored on Lake Malawi is the steamer Chauncy Maples which was built in Glasgow in 1899. Designed as a clinic ship, she has not sailed for a decade. MV Chauncy Maples is being renovated as mobile healthcare clinic. The main purposes of the clinic-ship will be:
- Maternal and primary health services for 40,000 people on Lake Malawi with no roads. The on-board nursing team will provide treatment for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, measles and HIV/AIDS; and other vital services such as include ante-natal and maternity, simple procedures, dental care, child immunisation, family-planning and Safe Motherhood.
- Schistosomiasis (bilharzia) - assist with the national programme of treatment of schistosomiasis across the lake
- Research. Use the ship's facilities (accommodation, laboratories, fridges) and access to unresearched areas, for medical research by e.g. Liverpool, LSTM, etc.
- Reduce HIV transmission among fisherfolk and marine crews. £20K grant from Intl Seafarer's Trust for this has begun.
How will the project be funded?
Since the Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust was registered in 2009, we have raised over £1.5 million in funds, parts and services. Our sponsor Thomas Miller has worked hard raising funds among the community of marine insurance companies and their associates. We still need to raise another £1 million for the renovation. The quicker we raise the money, the sooner we can improve the lives of lakeside Malawians.