Key medical figures:
• 900 births assisted
• 4,800 patients treated for malaria
Tropical cyclone Haruna struck the southwest coast of Madagascar on 22 February, causing extensive flooding and resulting in the displacement of more than 10,000 people.
People in the cities of Tuléar and Morombe were particularly affected by the cyclone. Several aid agencies responded, including a team from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that ran mobile clinics and donated drugs to facilities in the cities and to health centres in the surrounding areas until mid-April. From February to May, a team also helped health authorities respond to a spike in malarial infections in Tuléar, Morombe and Betioky. A total of 5,761 consultations were carried out.
Governmental budget cuts to social services following the 2009 presidential coup have severely affected the country’s health sector. A policy of free healthcare access for those in need was officially abolished in 2012. International donors also remain reluctant to release funds for non-emergency situations. Meanwhile, people in remote regions are unable to access the services they need because of the distances to health facilities.
Improving healthcare in Androy region
Since 2011, an MSF team has been improving patient care in the remote Androy region. Clinical care and drugs are dispensed through Bekily hospital’s emergency room, inpatient department, and antenatal and maternity unit. Medicines, staff training and consultations are also provided in two health centres. Patients receive treatment for a range of health concerns such as malaria and tuberculosis, as well as for schistosomiasis (bilharzia), a curable parasitic disease endemic in Madagascar. In addition, MSF works with the Centre for the Testing and Treatment of Tuberculosis, testing, raising awareness and carrying out consultations. During 2013, 70 new patients were admitted for treatment.
No. staff end 2013: 118 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1987