The Floating Health Clinic ship will travel to isolated communities on Lake Tanganyika and anchor offshore to provide health services. Spending 1-2 weeks in each community, we intend to conduct medical and surgical services including emergency response and trauma care, specialty care, and medical transport/transfer. While on site we will engage with local medical providers to conduct training and to further develop the local health care infrastructure.
To safely and efficiently provide this level of care our design requirements include two onboard operating rooms, intensive care facilities and a small inpatient ward, ship-to-shore loading equipment for the establishment of temporary land-based patient registration and treatment areas where the majority of services would be performed, and an outboard motor boat to serve as a water-based ambulance.
A significant component of our mission is to implement training for local medical providers and visiting personnel. This will encourage the development of community capacity building by supporting the existing facilities along the lake that are chronically understaffed, undersupplied, and overwhelmed by the tremendous local need.
Additionally, partnerships with medical programs from the United States, Canada, and Europe are envisioned to furnish a steady supply of rotating health care staff. These Western medical professionals will gain immense benefit from exposure to the medical problems faced by billions of the world’s population who live in developing countries. There are many data that show the transformative experience for Western personnel when exposed to the conditions that are so prevalent outside the developed world, and that skills acquired in these environments hold value back in their home countries. These include improved physical diagnosis abilities, awareness and discontinuation of wasteful use of medical supplies, and weaning of reliance on expensive and/or risky procedures. The opportunity to rotate on the FHC’s ship also fulfills a huge and growing demand amongst Western medical students and trainees to include rotations in Global Health and Medicine as part of their educational curricula. Thus, the ship provides a platform for an invaluable cross-cultural and medical exchange of ideas, experience, and knowledge.