HoverAid is protecting communities in Madagascar from the effects of the virus. We are distributing soap, nutrients (to build general immunity) and basic health guidance to as many as possible in priority areas. This is building resilience, awareness, and protection for COVID-19 and other diseases.
Overall known cases of COVID in Madagascar are now 16,400, with 229 deaths. Overall, numbers went down from the highest of 400 a day to average now 80, although some regions are still experiencing a growing rate of new infections. All public transport is working again, except for two most northern regions.
In Ambato Boeny, region of Boeny, North West Madagascar, we are currently distributing COVID protection equipment and materials (back sprayers, disinfectant, hand sanitising gel, coveralls, face masks, gloves). We cleaned markets and put up warning posters in public places. Health posts in the regions had received nothing in terms of protective or cleaning gear. We have reached 62 separate villages so far.
We are also giving awareness training in collaboration with SALFA (Medical NGO, part of the Lutheran church in Mada). Training is focusing on hygiene, which is crucial Covid but always good to do. In the meantime we also train on the regular topics, especially about malaria as there is an exceptional number of cases this year. Education is also given on dengue fever which is spreading in that region.
There remains much to do in that region, with many more towns and villages still unreached, and requests to support longer term resilience through establishing and equipping health posts and training local community health workers.
Hovercraft are a key element is what makes HoverAid unique, enabling us to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Over the last few months, in spite of the constraints imposed by COVID, our team in Madagascar have been readying the craft to return to regular deployment where they will make the most difference.
The River Rover (above) is now rejuvenated and tested. Projects are planned to base it around Maevetanana to use in conjunction with ImpactMadagascar, for which funding is currently being sought. The smaller Vortex 5 craft (left) is close to readiness as a support craft.
Meanwhile our UK workshop team have been keeping home-based craft available for demonstration activities in the UK, to the delight of current and potential supporters at fundraising events.
The current fleet of hovercraft are however many years old, and HoverAid have embarked on an exciting initiative to design and build new craft. These, although based on the current proven RiverRover design, will embody learning from years of hard use, to make the new hovercraft more reliable, efficient, lighter and capable of carrying greater payloads. Baseline CAD work to capture the current design is nearing completion, and we are seeking collaboration partners for the build and test phases. We already have CADFEM-Ansys as analytics partners and have initiated joint work with Cambridge University Engineering Department on aspects of duct design and optimisation.
The school we built in Andengondroy is now in use, with its official public school sign in place and a rising number of children on the school “roll”. More homes are being constructed nearby, on safe ground. Trees planted by the children are well watered and growing.
We have made a well with a platform and Canzee hand pump for sustainable clean water, and are now installing a treadle pump to demonstrate simple irrigation. There is so much water and land not used in the dry season.
CISCO (the department for education) has asked us to build three similar schools in other remote areas in the same Boeny region. In general there is a high dropout number of students due to bad
structures and lack of teachers. This will make a big impact. Teachers have been confirmed. There is a possibility of funding support from the Japanese Embassy. The local governor is making the connection for us.
Madagascar Medical Safaris (MMS)
The 5-day intensive MMSs, a core element of our ongoing work, provide immediate medical care, as well as building understanding of, and resilience to, health challenges for isolated communities. MMSs have restarted with a revised schedule to end-2020, following a hiatus whilst much of Madagascar has been in lockdown.
Two MMS have been carried out in September, to Ampasinambo and Marolambo. COVID does not exist there yet, but common diseases are bilharzia, malaria, gastritis, diarrhea, and influenza. The statistics for these two weeks show 459 Medical consultations, 142 Ophtalmology patients, 47 dental extractions, 165 Ultrasounds, 18 minor and 16 major surgical procedures.
A full programme of MMSs is planned for 2021; fundraising activities to support this are ongoing.