UK Support Team Checks Africa's Oldest Motor Ship Refit
The 'Chauncy Maples' is being renovated to bring health care to one of the poorest communites in the world, Malawi.
Members of the Chauncy Maples team recently took a trip to Malawi and visited remote villages, watched welders at work on the ship in Monkey Bay and made a pilgrimage to the final resting place of Bishop Chauncy Maples, in Nkhotakota.
Moored on Lake Malawi, the steamer Chauncy Maples, was built in Glasgow in 1899. Designed as a clinic ship, she has not sailed for a decade. This project plans to renovate her as a floating clinic. The on-board nursing team will provide treatment for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, measles and HIV/AIDS. Other vital services will include ante-natal and maternity care, simple operations, dental care, child immunisation, family-planning and advice on safe sex.
More than 50% of Malawi's 13 million people live in poverty, with an income of less than 75 pence or US$1 per day. The under-five death rate is 111 per 1,000 live births – 20 times worse than that in Europe or America. There is only one doctor in Malawi for every 52,000 people. 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.
Since the 'Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust' was registered in 2009, it has raised over £1 million, much of this through the generosity of its sponsor Thomas Miller, but still needs a further £1 million to complete the project.