Local charity groups, Jacob’s Well, the Rotary club and the And Albert Foundation have come together to build a £25000 specialist medical river boat that will take health-care to some of the world’s poorest communities.
The Northern region of Ghana is desperately poor. The climate is harsh, the land semi-desert. It is one of Ghana’s most remote regions, far from infra-structure of roads, schools and hospitals. If people become ill in this region, they usually die. The number of women who die in child-bearing is 35 times higher than in England! 1 in 20 children die before they reach their first birthday. Most illnesses go untreated. Even if the locals could pay for treatment, the hospital is too far away to walk there. There are no roads. And the region is dissected by the huge Volta River. In the dry season it is only a hundred metres across. In the rainy season it swells to become a mass of churning currents almost a mile wide. For those unlucky enough to live on the far side of the river, civilisation becomes unreachable for 5 months of the year. The hollowed out tree trunks used by locals to cross the river in the dry season become inadequate and dangerous to use when the river is in flood. With the nearest bridge hundreds of miles away and crocodiles hungrily waiting to see if the log canoe overturns, few dare to risk an unnecessary river crossing at this time of year.
Inspired by the vision of And Albert’s founder David Murden, who has made many visits to the area, the local Rotary clubs came together to raise the finance for a purpose-built boat that could be at the same time a mobile medical clinic, carrying doctors and nurses to villages that are unreachable by roads and also an ambulance boat for when there is a medical emergency. Through their efforts around £5000 was raised locally, which was supplemented by a grant of over £20 000 from the Rotary international foundation, giving a total budget of over £25 000 towards the project.
The mobile river boat has been designed and built by the local boat building firm Seahorse Marine using high density polyethylene (HDPE), a material that is light enough for a group of men to lift and carry the boat if needed, but strong enough to survive an attack by crocodiles ! Designed as a catamaran to give it greater stability and the ability to function in shallow waters, the boat has a built-in canopy to protect the patients from the searing sun, built-in lockers on both sides to carry medical equipment and supplies and fixings to carry two patients on stretchers. It will be powered by a large Yamaha Marine engine with a secondary engine as back up.
The boat will be a “game-changer” for local medical professionals, allowing them to reach many villages that were otherwise out of their reach. The boat will carry out tasks like antenatal clinics, preventing newborns getting HIV,immunising children against deadly diseases such as Polio, Hepatitis , Meningitis, Tetanus etc, and soon, hopefully with the newly developed vaccine for malaria. It will also run regular primary health-care clinics for people who have no access to other medical care, promote better nutrition and also be able to transport emergency cases to the local hospital. The boat will be operated by a small hospital run by “The King’s Village”, a Ghanaian charity that also runs a school, agricultural projects and a malnutrition centre. The Beverley charity Jacob’s Well, who is shipping the boat out to Ghana, will continue to support the project into the future by supplying of medicines, bandages and other medical items that the boat will need in order to continue its life-saving work.
January 2017 Update
The boat has been finished and launched!
In northern Ghana sometimes the only way to get to a doctor is to cross crocodile-infested waters in shallow boats. So Rotary International clubs in East Yorkshire have been busy fundraising so this plastic catamaran, made in Hull, can by used on the Volta river by The King's Village
Opslået af BBC Look North (East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire) på 29. januar 2017