The project will be run by the Government of Malawi with support from donors in Malawi and Britain. 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 high rates of malaria, HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis. Healthy life expectancy at birth is 35 years. Lake Malawi makes up a fifth of the country. For most of the thousand miles of shoreline there is no road and no access to health services for about four million lake dwellers. When desperate for healthcare, many travel by dug-out canoe, risking the dangerous currents, storms and crocodiles.Marine History
Moored on Lake Malawi is the steamer Chauncy Maples. Built in Glasgow in 1898, she is the oldest ship in Africa still afloat. Divided into 3,481 parts she was shipped to the East coast of Africa, transported up the Zambezi and then carried across 350 miles of uncharted land. It took two years to assemble her there.
The Chauncy Maples was a hospital ship but she has not sailed for a decade. She is owned by the Government of Malawi, which plans to renovate her as a floating clinic.Free health care
Lake-side villagers will receive free treatment for common diseases, maternity care, simple operations, dentistry, immunisation for their babies, family planning and information on hygiene and safe sex.Green engineering
The fuel used to run the Chauncy Maples' diesel engine will contain a proportion of bio-diesel made from jatropha – a non-edible tropical plant growing in Malawi. This will also create employment and reduce fossil-fuel imports.