It's a bit strange to think that it's winter here NOW, in other words the coldest season (it'll never get colder). Well, at night it can sometimes be 16 degrees. And during the day, it rarely gets above 25 degrees in the shade. We really appreciate the cooler temperatures. But our eldest daughter doesn't like having to wear long trousers or even a jacket from time to time. That's fine. We're sure she'll miss this cooler season again in a few months' time...
In May, we spent two weeks on holiday in the north of Madagascar. It was great! The beach, the nature, the good food... It's great to discover the country. What particularly encouraged us was that some of the people we met even knew "our" hospital. It seems that it has a very good reputation, well beyond our region. We've received a lot of respect from the locals for our commitment to Madagascar, which has given us great pleasure.
Daniel has been Chief Medical Officer since the beginning of June. This means that he now has the assistant doctors reporting to him, and that he is no longer the first to be called on standby, but only when the assistant doctor can no longer move forward. This hasn't changed much, and he still enjoys the work just as much. In June, Nadine taught English twice at the "Ecole Bonne Nouvelle", the school that is also part of the project here. She really enjoyed doing it, and it looks like from next school year she'll be able to teach an afternoon of English and possibly a morning of French and sport.
Recently, a boy named Zaramarozara was born at Good News Hospital. He is Fidy's fourth baby and the first to survive childbirth. For Fidy and her husband, he represents a great answer to prayer. The couple live in a small village about three days' walk from us. The first three babies were to be born in their own home, far from any medical assistance. Unfortunately, none of them survived. But thanks be to God, Fidy survived each time. She and her husband were very sad, but never gave up hope.
Shortly before the birth of their fourth baby, they heard about Good News Hospital and decided to go there. Fidy was examined at the maternity hospital and, together with the doctor, the couple decided to induce labour a little earlier so as not to put the baby at risk. Shortly afterwards, they were able to hold a healthy baby in their arms. At last!
We hear stories like Fidy's all the time. Here, around ten times as many babies die during birth as in Switzerland. Most women have no access to medical care during pregnancy, childbirth or the post-natal period.
The Good News Hospital maternity unit is the only one within a radius of around 200 km (i.e. a 10-hour drive or several days' walk) where caesarean sections, anaesthesia, blood transfusions, etc. can be performed. As we have reached the limits of our capacity, we absolutely must expand the Maternity Ward. This is the only way we can continue to care for as many women as possible and pass on the love of Jesus to them. The extension is planned for 2024. Nadine is responsible for communications and fundraising. It's a demanding job, but one that she also enjoys. Would you like to support the work of Nadine and Daniel or the extension of the Maternity Ward? Then don't hesitate to contact us.
Click here to go to the Maternity Hospital extension project page: www.mandritsara.org.uk/maternity
By the way: in June, the assistant surgeons sat their COSECSA exams. These are international examinations that they must pass in order to remain part of the PAACS (Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons) programme. One in three doctors passed the exams. The other two are due to sit the make-up exams at the end of July. Please pray that all goes well! It's very difficult to find good religious doctors in Madagascar and we'd love to keep them.
A few weeks ago, a second local doctor started practising medicine. A great answer to prayer!