Fotadrevo in the south west of Madagascar. The landscape is monotonous, the roads are rough and frequently blocked by massive floods during the monsoon season. Lonely mud huts dot the countryside. Electricity and infrastructure are almost non-existent: it is one of Madagascar’s poorest regions. Life here is simple and slow. However, one place in Fotadrevo is surrounded by a hectic atmosphere of tension and concentration: Hopitaly Zoara clinic. The team of 18 headed up by the surgeon, Dr. med. Elson Randrianantenaina, works day and night to provide people with medical care. Zoara is the only hospital in Fotadrevo actually capable of performing surgeries. For thousands of people it is also the only source of medical aid. Because the journey to the next city takes three days in an oxcart – in an emergency that is often too long. An ambulance Unimog donated by the German military ensures safe and rapid transport. The Unimog handles the deep potholes, rough roads and difficult terrain without any problems – making it a lifesaver.
“We were very happy to receive the vehicle because there are almost no private vehicles here. Now the paramedics can reach distant villages even during the monsoon season such as during immunization campaigns or in order to transport seriously ill patients” states Julius Emmrich, the founder of “Doctors for Madagascar”. Julius Emmrich founded the voluntary organization in summer 2012 after meeting the Madagascan surgeon, Dr. Randrianantenaina, during a medical internship in Western Africa. Dr. Randrianantenaina runs the Zoara hospital together with his wife. Highly impressed with the African’s exceptional dedication, Julius Emmrich travelled to Madagascar to work at the hospital. Thanks to ÄfM and the donations collected, the hospital has been able to afford medical equipment. The hospital now has its own small laboratory, ultrasound and x-ray equipment along with two completely equipped operating theatres.
“It is great to see what we can achieve together. In addition, it is immensely motivating to experience how we can help sick people receive high-quality medical care every day. Our project would be impossible without voluntary support and volunteer helpers”, explains Emmrich. The inhabitants of the distant villages also appreciate the efforts and there are an enormous number of patients. Many make the difficult journey to receive treatment in Zoara. Such as Tiana, for example. She was nine months pregnant with a 40° fever and suffering from malaria. Tiana’s family travelled for three days with an oxcart. During the journey to the clinic, the cart’s drawbar broke and had to be temporarily repaired. Everything ended well and after two weeks Tiana left the clinic in good health.