HoverAid’s Community Health Programme was set up to complement the Mad Medical Safari (MMS). Where the MMS is designed to support communities struggling with the health consequences of rural poverty, the CHP is intended to address some of the root causes of poor health.
The major factors leading to poor health in remote rural Madagascar fall into three main areas:
- Lack of clean water
- Infections and Transmissable diseases
Even with a river nearby, water is often contaminated by human and animal waste, so simple water filtering can make a huge difference. HoverAid’s Community Health Programmes biosand filter project, is introducing simple filters to households along the river systems, providing an improved and reliable water source.
Where villages are set back from the river, simple pumped tube wells reaching down to the ground water, provide far cleaner water than that collected from puddles and small streams.
Malaria and Bilharzia combine to kill thousands every year. HoverAid’s Community Health Programme teaches villages about the real causes of Malaria and encourages the use of bed nets, making them available in villages where there are none. Bilharzia is cause by a parasitic worm which can be removed with a single dose of medicine, however the Community Health Programme also educates communities about the causes of Bilharzia.
Sexually Transmitted Infections are a huge problem and the Community Health Programme raises awareness of common diseases. Whilst there has been no testing for HIV in many remote communities, an increase in levels of TB suggests HIV may well be present.
The Community Health Programme is also the main vehicle for conducting research as there is currently very little data on issues of poverty and nutrition in many parts of Madagascar. Our aim is that by improving the level of information available, other agencies will be encouraged to help, particularly in areas where villages are vulnerable to stressed food supplies.