Magic of the Med­i­cal Ship

Diplomat East Africa - - Health -

After six months at sea and 500 miles over­land, the Ju­bilee Hope now brings health­care to about 400,000 peo­ple in iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties in the Lake Vic­to­ria re­gion. ROBIN OBINO re­ports

AUnited King­dom­based char­ity that sup­ports poor chil­dren around the world has launched its lat­est med­i­cal ship on Lake Vic­to­ria, the sec­ond largest fresh wa­ter Lake. Vine Trust with its head­quar­ters in Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land, is a med­i­cal ini­tia­tive that tar­gets 100,000 pa­tients an­nu­ally on is­lands with lit­tle or no ac­cess to ba­sic health­care. Ju­bilee Hope, as the ship hos­pi­tal on Lake Vic­to­ria is known is the first of its kind in Africa.

The float­ing hos­pi­tal will be based on the Tan­za­nian side and will bring med­i­cal care to the res­i­dents of the Lake’s 3,000 is­lands who pre­vi­ously had to hire boats to take them to hos­pi­tal on land. Ju­bilee Hope is a Bri­tish Aero­scope (BAE) Sys­tems plc-com­pli­ant ship with a full den­tal surgery, op­er­at­ing the­atre, two con­sult­ing ar­eas, an eye surgery and a lab­o­ra­tory.

The 160-tonne ves­sel left Greenock, Scot­land in Jan­uary and sailed around Africa to Mom­basa. It is manned by Vine Trust vol­un­teers. Princess Anne launched the fa­cil­ity as part of a tour of Vine Trust projects across Tan­za­nia where she was met peo­ple who ben­e­fit from the ship’s med­i­cal ser­vices and sus­cep­ti­ble chil­dren sup­ported in Vine Trust chil­dren’s cen­tres.

Speak­ing after the launch in Mwanza re­cently, she de­scribed it as a great achieve­ment and as a spe­cial ini­tia­tive to cel­e­brate Her Majesty’s Queen El­iz­a­beth’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee.

“There were a num­ber of Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Projects, but this is one of the few that will reach such a huge num­ber of peo­ple,” she said. The project, run­ning un­der the banner Con­nect­ing Peo­ple to Change Lives, has been sup­ported by, among other in­ter­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions, the Wood Group PSN ( WGPSN), an in­ter­na­tional en­ergy ser­vices gi­ant.

Vine Trust Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Mr Wil­lie McPher­son, said he was im­pressed by the good­will that Ju­bilee Hope gen­er­ated among com­mu­ni­ties in the Lake Zone of Tan­za­nia and the rest of the is­land com­mu­ni­ties.

“On be­half of ev­ery­one at Vine Trust, I would like to thank the Her Royal High­ness the Princess Royal Anne for trav­el­ling to Tan­za­nia, launch­ing the Ju­bilee Hope Project and for her con­tin­u­ing support as Pa­tron of Vine Trust. At Wood Group PSN, our core val­ues are at the heart of ev­ery­thing we do and our in­volve­ment in this project gives us the op­por­tu­nity to bring our so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to life, whilst bring­ing our UK en­gi­neer­ing ex­per­tise to Africa,” he said.

On the float­ing hos­pi­tal are an over­all med­i­cal di­rec­tor and other per­son­nel to run the ship. The Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner to Tan­za­nia, Ms Dianna Mel­rose, said the team has the knowl­edge and ex­per­tise and that all they needed is a ‘ ve­hi­cle’ to en­able them do their job.

“I am so im­pressed, not least by the phys­i­cal feat of get­ting the ship to Lake Vic­to­ria. It is go­ing to make a real dif­fer­ence to the lives of com­mu­ni­ties around the lake. We will pro­vide the nec­es­sary support,” she said.

This is the third med­i­cal ship the char­ity has launched to ben­e­fit re­mote com­mu­ni­ties in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. And as Ju­bilee Hope started its op­er­a­tions in East Africa, its sis­ter ships treated its mile­stone one mil­lion pa­tient in the Peru­vian Ama­zon.

Ju­bilee Hope is ex­pected to serve the re­gion for the next 25 years

The project, run­ning un­der the banner Con­nect­ing Peo­ple to Change Lives, has been sup­ported by, among other in­ter­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions, the Wood Group PSN (WGPSN), an in­ter­na­tional en­ergy ser­vices gi­ant

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