The Swimming Doctors look back on a successful year in 2019

For over ten years now the Swimming Doctors and their “floating medical practice” have provided medical care for the people of the Irrawaddy River delta south of Yangon in Myanmar. A violent hurricane in 2008 made it difficult to reach this area and was the deciding factor behind the idea of converting a rice freighter into a hospital ship. The Swimming Doctors project was initiated by Jürgen Gessner, co-founder of the foundation Stiftunglife, who turned 70 last year. Since then the Swimming Doctors have been travelling the Irrawaddy Delta with two ships.

Last year, the team of doctors treated more than 20,000 patients and examined the students of eleven schools along the ships’ routes. In addition to the Burmese ship’s crew, 19 doctors from Germany were on board, including dentists, a midwife and an ophthalmologist. She trained local doctors and nurses to carry out eye tests, and examined the eyes of over 100 patients, who were given glasses if they required them.

Last year, new laboratory equipment was also purchased to perform blood counts and assess markers of inflammation.

Thanks to numerous donations, all costs were covered last year and the budget for 2020 was secured. As a result, the Swimming Doctors are once more able to help many people in Myanmar this year.