Covid Crisis becomes medical catastrophe in Madagascar
Covid is now gripping Madagascar. My heart is aching for colleagues and friends that we have lost to Covid in recent weeks and with fear for more we may lose as the covid situation in Madagascar become very frightening. This time it’s not just a financial crisis for households in lockdown it’s a medical crisis. The South African variant is spreading fast. In a country with almost no medical infrastructure and very little help with medical costs or social security, the outlook is bleak. Oxygen canisters are now extremely scarce to come by, and at £60 per canister they are also beyond the reach of most of the population. The country is now running out of coffins, traditional funeral rights can not be observed. Schools and hotels are being turned into make-shift emergency Covid clinics. We are frightened, but we must be brave and stand in solidarity with our friends and colleagues in Madagascar, to help them keep safe and try to protect as many as possible of the vulnerable people who depend on our projects.
As the vaccination roll-out brings a ray of hope to rich countries like the UK, spare a thought for friends in poor countries that are now experiencing the medical crisis, without the money or medical facilitates to cope.
It appears that the dreaded predictions are coming true… “In rich countries, it is likely that hundreds of thousands will die in the coming months. But if past pandemics are any guide, those numbers are likely to be a small fraction of the body count expected in the poorest parts of the globe.”
Money for Madagascar has spent decades working in solidarity with colleagues in Madagascar to build up the strength and dignity of some of Madagascar’s most vulnerable children and their families. Now we quake to see the fragility of the communities and the children we have grown to love. How can such poor people in a country with so little healthcare withstand the ravages of Coronavirus?
MfM may be small, but we want to do our bit to ‘step up’. With your help, we will do our part to help the Malagasy communities who depend on us.
Last year we focused our aid on food, grants, hand washing facilities, job creation and educational support. Now we need to support the medical emergency! We have already lost one dear colleague to Covid. We pray that we won’t lose more! We will stick with our partners through these difficult times, helping to keep them strong. And when this all passes, we will be there to help communities rebuild.
We know that Coronavirus is hurting people all over the world, at home as well as away. We wish you all strength in your personal struggles. If you do have any spare strength and love, please consider helping the most vulnerable in Madagascar.
MfM is sending funds now. We will be posting updates on our website, so you can see how your donations are helping. Anything you can give will help us to reach more families in their hour of need. Click here to donate.
With sincere thanks,
Irenee Rajaona-Horne, Director of Money for Madagascar
As Covid-19 hits Madagascar, what is MfM doing to help?
MfM has moved quickly to adapt our work. We have paused activities that could spread of the Coronavirus and focussed on preventative activities that can strengthen our communities.
MfM works with trusted Malagasy partners. In times like this, it is essential that we stick together, stay strong and help each other. From residential children’s centres to rainforest conservationists, each partner must face corona in their own way, doing their best to protect and support their staff teams and their beneficiaries. MfM is working to support our partners and raise the funds they need to face this challenge.
Here are some of the actions we are taking to respond to Covid-19 in Madagascar:
Reinforcing public health messages in our communities.
Offering emergency grants to children’s centres so they can still afford food and medicine despite hyperinflation.
Distributing small grants to families, who cannot afford to feed their children. This lifeline is essential until school canteens and feeding centres are allowed to reopen.
Improving access to safe hand-washing facilities
Making and distributing washable facemasks.
Reducing the spike in environmental destruction and poverty that this crisis will trigger by creating new conservation jobs
As soon as possible… scaling up sustainable livelihoods training – to replace hunger and poverty with food security
One size does not fit all…
In urban areas that are under lock-down we are working with partners like Ankizy Gasy to distribute small grants to prevent acute hunger. In remote areas, like Melaky, there is still time to strengthen public information and health campaigns before the virus arrives.
What can be done in the rainforests?
The sudden halt to tourism is strangling livelihoods around national parks like Andasibe – Mantadia. This is likely to trigger a spike in pressure on the forests, as redundant workers take desperate measures to feed their families. Patrols need to be increased to protect existing forests. Help and employment is needed for redundant workers to be able to feed their families, without needing to plunder the forests. Scaling up conservation could be a win-win solution. Last year grants of £15,000 created alternative employment in conservation and healthcare for 45 families who had been made jobless by the collapse of tourism. Intensified training in sustainable food-growing has also helped to reduce hunger, build food security and rebuild lives and livelihoods. New donations could help fund a new cycle of grants.
A single donation can help alleviate immediate suffering. A regular donation will help to rebuild lives when the peak of the crisis has passed. A legacy in your Will could underwrite our long-term commitment to these Madagascar communities. We are sincerely grateful for any support you can give. Click here to donate. Thank you.
See what our Malagasy partners have to say
“Dear Irenee and MfM team
Thank you very much for being with us in that difficult time. People are struggling already because they have no money to buy a food and the price has gone up so high!
We are giving each poor family who used to come to the free canteen 3 Euros a week to help buy food and medicines. It is too risky for our team to buy and distribute food, soap, water etc. So we give money. The families told us they appreciate a lot of the help. And they really feel they are not alone in that difficult time and situation.
So again thank you for the help you offered for them. The social workers hand out the grants to one family at a time. Then they also take the time to give important advice about washing hands, keeping distance, staying home, having paracetamol ready, etc. We will use the money for MfM to continue the grants to families and also to start to make and hand out masks.
Again big thank you to all MfM team! It’s important that you are with us in that difficult time. It gives energy and hope to me and all our AG team in Madagascar to know that we are not alone. We have each other to help and be together in that difficult time!
Be safe. Best regards.
Patrycj Malik, Ankizy Gasy Director.”
Money for Madagascar sends all our supporters home and away a message to stay strong and stay safe.