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The girl from Mandiso

A seven-year-old girl in the village of Mandiso, in the south-east of Madagascar. Her name: Kristy.
She lives in a clay house with a roof of corrugated iron. The house is just one small room, with a floor made of compacted clay. Kristy’s mother cooks food for the family in a big aluminium pot over an open fire in front of the door. A pair of scrawny chickens belonging to the family run here and there, and there is also a small patch of land outside the village, where they grow rice and cassava. The harvest is hardly lavish, but it is just enough to feed the family. If a tiny portion of the harvest is left over, her parents can sell it on the local market.
In the past year, Kristy’s mother had to have an operation for an ectopic pregnancy in the clinic at Fort Dauphin. The surgery went well and the patient recovered quickly. The cost of treatment, however, came to around 20 times the family’s monthly income. Without the financial support of friends, neighbours and other family members, Kristy’s parents would not have been able to pay the bill.
Just a few months later came a second blow. Kristy developed a high fever. She was lethargic and exhausted. When her condition worsened, her parents brought her into the local health centre. The nurse on duty recommended that they should go to the clinic in Manambaro, one of the partner hospitals of Doctors for Madagascar.

Kristy (on the right) with her friend.

Without the means to hire a bike or an oxcart, the parents spent Christmas Day carrying the girl the 30 km long journey to Manambaro in the scorching heat. Dr. Mireille diagnosed the visibly weakened child with a case of malaria, which had caused pneumonia. She was immediately started on a course of treatment through an IV infusion, and her life was saved. The costs of this treatment were fully covered by Doctors for Madagascar. This was a great help to the family, as they will still be paying off the debts incurred by Kristy’s mother’s operation for a long time yet.


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