Medical Care in Madagascar
Last post I told you about our Family Outing to a Birth and promised that the story wasn’t over yet. Unfortunately it wasn’t over… and three weeks after the birth of this little girl, the story still continues. Medical care in Madagascar is, we’ll just say, sub-optimal to put it nicely. Case in point…
The baby in my previous post was born at 35 weeks gestation and weighed just over 5 pounds at birth. The mom and baby stayed in the hospital for 48 hours before being discharged home. As soon as the mom got home, she called the doctor who I work with because her baby was discharged with a temperature of 102 degrees and had lost a precious 1 pound and 5 ounces since her birth… she now weighed a mere 3.7 pounds! The mom was having difficulty breastfeeding and reportedly wasn’t producing colostrum or milk. The doctor mandated that the mom find a “wet nurse” to breastfeed her baby, started supplementation immediately and then the tiny baby was put on antibiotics. Today, three and half weeks later, the baby has regained her birth weight.
However, the story is still not over… unfortunately just recently the baby has also been found to have a cardiac defect. Even though we live in the second largest city in Madagascar, with a population of over 170,000 people, there is not a single pediatric cardiologist. This young family, if they can afford it, must travel 12 hours to the capital city of Antananarivo, to consult with a doctor about the future of their precious daughter.
This is just one example of the tragic yet very real state of medical care in Madagascar.