the Hospital Ship Project for Madagascar

Context and Explanation

Madagascar, the country from where we wish to activate the health care activities using the hospital ship, is the fourth largest island in the world, with a population of about 19 million inhabitants. To say “about” is obligatory and significant because many children are still “unborn” as never registered.

It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with all the known consequences resulting from poverty such as malnutrition, infectious, parasitic and skin diseases.

Ended the dictatorial regime, in 2002, now exists a political climate still very uncertain, although this is a presidential republic: the resurgence from the dramatic conditions of the past, in every sector, is very slow, complicated and even difficult for the many isolated villages .

In the country there are mainly the following diseases: malaria, plague, dengue, typhoid, paratyphoid and viral hepatitis, leishmaniosis, hemorrhagic fevers, cholera, helminthiasis, giardiasis, echinococcosis, schistosomiasis and trachoma. The Aids cases are increasing while there is high endemicity for tuberculosis and diphtheria. (Source of information: Walter Pasini, “Health and safety situation in the 5 Continents-January 3, 2008″). There  are also many sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea.

Child prostitution is increasing dramatically: a growing number of young girls / teenage girls is induced to prostitute themselves, especially in the towns and in the small villages along the coast because of the widespread poverty.

There are still many leprosy villages where there is still the mark of the marginalization and of the ghetto.

Many families, whole villages, especially in the south, are living on the edge of survival and they have no access to health care, school and work.

Our direct knowledge of the Madagascan situation, combined with the data collection and the testimony of the Missionaries (Salesians, Jesuits, Camillians, Nazarenes) with whom we work for years, shows how every day (without mentioning any special circumstances induced by natural disasters) the causes of death, especially among children, are due to preventable diseases such as diarrhea, infections post-traumatic, outcomes of burns, respiratory crisis, for which there is no minimal health care and the financial ability by the families to buy the drugs.

Young pregnant women carry out with extreme difficulty pregnancies often ending with the death of the unborn child, with severe and massive hemorrhages, or with the death of the own mother.

Healthcare in Madagascar, both public and private, excluding some structures in the main cities, is represented by dilapidated and inadequate buildings, lacking of adequate medical equipment and medical supplies. Every minimal medical service is also dispensed exclusively after payment.

The private healthcare is usually run by missionaries and it offers better conditions of access than the public healthcare. However, the population has great difficulty to access to the treatments, again because of the extreme poverty.

See some pictures of places and life Malagasy:  here

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