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“Smile 4 Madagascar”

A 9-hour drive over 237km, mostly on dirt roads, brings us from the coastal city of Tulear to Fotadrevo. The last time we were here was in 2012. In the meantime, this clinic has grown into a real hospital, thanks to funding from Doctors for Madagascar. It’s impressive what real commitment can achieve.
The nights are cold, sometimes below 10°C, but just what’s needed after a day in the operating theatre. Some of the cases we see are dramatic – even for a team of Madagascar-weathered doctors. You don’t want to imagine what some of the patients have been through or what they are still suffering.

Ingo Plötzender, the head of the Smile 4 Madagascar team, has run several missions to help patients in the south of Madagascar.

Such as the 5-year-old boy who stepped too close to an open fireplace about two years ago. The blanket he was wrapped in caught fire and was ablaze within moments. The child survived, but was badly injured, with large deep-tissue burns. The family could not afford adequate treatment and over time his right arm became completely fused to his torso by scar tissue. Yesterday we operated on him and after three hours we had managed to separate the arm and cover the wounds with skin grafts. He has a good chance of recovering the use of his arm.
Right now the operating theatre is prepped for the next surgery – the 17th case this week.


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