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Madagascar: pediatric screening and rehabilitation

The start of ongoing physiotherapist services and a screening program of the developing age at the Hopitaly Vezo

About the project

The Hopitaly Vezo – the name inspired by the main ethnic group of the region– is situated south-west of Madagascar near the village of Andavadoaka - Tulear province – Atsimo-Andrefana region – Morombe district – Befandefa municipality. The ODV Friends of Ampasilava (volunteer organization) with its head office in Italy, has managed the hospital since 2008 cooperating with the local structures of the Italian Health Ministry. The hospital is managed by Italian voluntary health professionals with different health-related backgrounds. Among the different health services provided by the hospital, physiotherapy is also available. However, this service is only provided occasionally, according to the Italian volunteers available.

The 10-year experience gained by the physiotherapists has revealed a high rate of congenital and acquired orthopedic and neurological pathologies (PCI, clubbed foot, mixed developmental disorders, etc.). From the research conducted regarding the need for physiotherapy in this region, specifically concerning developmental age, no official data has come to light. Furthermore, no trace of specific governmental health programs have been seen. This implies the need to launch an operation that will allow:

  • to start an ongoing physiotherapy program, also training local person;
  • to set up a screening program to evaluate the neuro-psychomotor development of children aged from 0 to 6 years given the total lack of prevention programs for this age group. The beneficiaries of this service will be the children born in the Hopitaly Vezo, those daily attending the hospital (not necessarily for pathological reasons). Moreover, this program will be gradually extended to all the neighboring villages to overcome the physical, economic and social limitations, often preventing the early individuation and treatment of pediatric pathologies;
  • to create, according to individual needs, personalized education, prevention and treatment programs;
  • to aim the professional training at the local individual. To keep the screening and rehabilitation activities ongoing, the training of a local figure will be paramount, so that they will not have to depend on Italian voluntary physiotherapists in the future;
  • the local healthcare professional to collaborate with, from the beginning, the physiotherapist in charge of the project who, through an intensive theoretical/practical training program, will provide the necessary knowledge so the local person will be able to work independently.
  • three studies to be conducted on the basis of the screening data to be gathered. These studies will allow for a better understanding of the neuro-psychomotor development of the children in a social-cultural-economic context that is very different from the European one. Finally, they will result in evaluating the presence and effect of the most common endemic pathologies (malaria, TBC, etc.) in the neurodevelopmental disorders of a child.


The project, integrated in the free healthcare system guaranteed all year by the volunteers at the Hopitaly Vezo of Andavadoaka, aims, in ten months, to perform at least 800 screenings followed, when needed, by educational-rehabilitation treatments involving both the child and family.

The team will be made up of the physiotherapist in charge of the project, three neurodevelopmental disorder therapists (TNPEE), one Madagascan nurse, and one student from a university of Rome serving as an intern for her degree. In addition, a consultancy team in Italy will be made up of one physiotherapist, two TNPEEs, one child neuropsychiatrist, one neurophysiopathologist, one child psychologist and one speech therapist.

What are the funds for?

psychologist and one speech therapist.

The project will last 10 months, and the funds will be used for funding:

  • medical equipment and supplies to be purchased and transported to Madagascar for the project, such as orthopedic braces, prosthesis, etc.;
  • purchasing fuel to allow the team to move about the region;
  • carrying out research: the purchase of materials and studies for the research, the data bank and office supplies;
  • the team: a reimbursement of expenses (travel, accommodation, etc.) will be essential for the working team.

The main aim is to collect 8,000 euros. This will allow us to widen the scope of the project to more villages, and to buy and transport in Madagascar the equipment needed for the entire duration of the project.

About the project owner

The ODV Friends of Ampasilava (volunteer organization) with its head office in Italy, has managed the hospital since 2008 in cooperation with the local structures of the Italian Health Ministry. The hospital is run by Italian voluntary healthcare professionals who, with a rostering system, are able to provide 24/7 care. The health care, medication included, is free of charge.

Hopitaly Vezo, set up in 2008, is a reference point not only for the inhabitants of Andavadoaka (a village of about 3,000 people), but also for all those villages within a 180 km radius serving about 200,000 people. On the other hand, it is the only free healthcare institution that provides an all-around assistance in a situation where healthcare is privately run.

The hospital covers 700 m2 with:

  • Two recovery rooms with 11 beds (4 for men and 7 for women)
  • One recovery room for mothers and children
  • One multipurpose operating room (recently renovated)
  • One sterilization room
  • Two general medical clinics
  • Four specialized clinics (ophthalmology, gynecology, physiotherapy and dentistry)
  • One outpatient’s clinic with nurse assistance
  • One diagnostic imaging room (radiology)
  • A pharmacy with a storage room and galenic laboratory, opened in 2017 with the support of an Italian pharmaceutical company.

The main goals of the association for 2019-2021 are:

  • healthcare education for an aware motherhood, also taking into account the high rate of early maternity (12 to15 years old);
  • making the physiotherapy service ongoing, specifically aimed at prevention and rehabilitation for the developmental age;
  • supporting the already existing services, guaranteeing their continuity in the Hopitaly Vezo. 

Finally, one of the main aims of the association is to train local personnel. To achieve this, relations have been set up with the Tulear University and some NGOs involved in healthcare personnel training, the trainees being then sent to the Hopitaly Vezo to carry out internships and possibly become future workers in the hospital.

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