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The Mad Medical Safari provides a regular medical clinic service to villages surrounding the communes of Bekadoka, Beroroha, Mitsinjo, Soalala, Ankavandra, Ampasinambo and Sahakevo. The service is run in conjunction with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) who provide air transport to airstrips close to the rivers at points where HoverAid establish base camps from which doctors are transported by hovercraft to villages along the rivers.

Whilst there is a nominal government health service, in practice the capacity of the system is very low, with health spending having reduced from $8 per person/year to $2 over the last three years. The few local doctors are doing their best in a very difficult situation, so HoverAid ensures that we coordinate all work done so as not to undermine them.

The reality is that beyond main villages the only healthcare option available is provided by witchdoctors and informal healers. There is good evidence that in the vast majority of cases interventions by witchdoctors provide no benefit or exacerbate the treated condition.

The regular Mad Medical Safaris bring teams of doctors from the capital Antananarivo and overseas to the remote locations and cover a wide range of disciplines in addition to general practice consultations. Cleft lip, cataract surgery, and dentistry are undertaken when suitabe teams are available, and when necessary additional arrangements can be made to bring in additional specialists such as anaesthetists.

By providing a regular pattern of clinics it is becoming possible to treat chronic conditions, however there is still no capacity for diagnosing or treating HIV, despite the fact that observable rates of TB appear to be increasing which may be an indicator of HIV prevalence.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are widespread, and in some villages up to 70% of people are infected with schistosomiasis (bilharzia). Given an underlying rate of chronic malnutrition along the Mangoky river of 60% it is not surprising that infant mortality rates are very high -with most women reporting that they have lost children.

The Mad Medical Safari extends the opportunity of a basic level of medical care to approximately 300,000 people, however the needs are enormous and HoverAid is doing all it can to raise more funds and undertake more MMS trips.

In 2015 we aim to undertake 15 MMS trips, across the listed field bases. 

To make the MMS sustainable we created the Community Health Programme, designed to educate local communities on the reoccuring health issues that were being faced in the communties.