HoverAid run Madagascar Medical Safaris (MMS) all year round. As one of the countries most exposed to extreme weather events, Madagascar experiences on average 3 major natural disasters per year. Madagascar overview, World Bank April 2018
We provide regular medical clinic services to villages mainly surrounding the 3 different river systems that work on. On average we treat around 350 people per week of MMS, though in May this year we treated 816 people in just five days! Some of these people had come 46 miles to get to us, usually walking to reach us, or travelling by ox cart.
Whilst there is a nominal government health service, in practice, the vast majority of people in Madagascar cannot access even basic medical clinics. Health spending has reduced from $8 per person/year to $2 per person/year over the last three years. Most doctors are found in the urban areas, yet 80% of the population, some 20 million people live in rural areas. 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 condition.
HoverAid ensures that we coordinate all work done, with the few local doctors who are doing their best in a very difficult situation, so as to support and enable them more.
Often we run MMS’s with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) who provide air transport to airstrips, which are close to rivers, and HoverAid can then transport doctors by hovercraft to villages along the rivers.
Madagascar Medical Safaris bring teams of doctors from the capital Antananarivo and overseas to these remote locations and provide major and minor surgery, ultrasound scanning and dental work, as well as general practice consultations. Cleft lip and cataract surgery can also be undertaken when suitable 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 Madagascar Medical Safaris extend 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.
This year we want to undertake 15 MMS trips, across the different field bases. Each one costs around £7500. You can help us treat these people by donating regularly HERE
In 2015, to make the MMSs sustainable we created the Community Health Programme, designed to educate local communities on the recurring health issues that were being faced in the communities. This is a great initiative and with your support we can start it up in other areas too!