The Mandritsara Good News Hospital project began as a joint vision between the Association of Bible Baptist Churches of Madagascar and Africa Evangelical Fellowship, a missionary society working in the countries of southern Africa. An agreement between the two groups was signed in December 1988 with the intention of opening a 25 mission hospital which would be the focus for evangelism and church planting in the interior of the north-west province of Mahajanga, an area considered “unreached” hitherto with the gospel.

Since that time, the Good News School, the Voice of the Good News radio station, the Community Health work and the Nursing and Midwifery Training School have all developed as Malagasy Christians and Missionaries from overseas have worked together to bring the love of Christ and the message of His Gospel to the people in the Mandritsara district.

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Villages in the Mandritsara district are centres of spiritual darkness and superstition. At the entrance to many villages, poles stuck in the ground display the skulls and horns of bulls that have been sacrificed to the spirits of the ancestors who are thought to still live in the village and control the fate of the inhabitants’ daily lives. Stone altars are evident – in the centre or on the outskirts of villages. Sickness, death, poor harvest, infertility – these are the kind of ills that unhappy ancestral spirits are thought to bring. Sacrifices are made to placate the spirits and these sacrifices consume valuable resources. Fear, bondage and hopelessness are the inevitable consequence. It is into this context that the light of the Gospel has shined through the Good News Hospital and related ministries, bringing forgiveness, freedom and hope to those who put their trust in Jesus.

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Madagascar is one of the poorest countries of the world with 70-80% of the population considered to be living below the poverty line. This is very evident in the Mandritsara district. Though the district is the size of Yorkshire, there is only one tarred road of about 50 miles. Vast swathes of the area are inaccessible even to 4x4 vehicles for all but a few months at the end of the dry season each year. Almost all villages have no electricity supply or running water. Even the simplest of toilets were totally lacking in most villages until a recent drive led by the Community Health department of the hospital. Agriculture in the Mandritsara district is subsistence farming of rice and cattle. There is no mechanisation. Ploughing is with an ox-drawn single plough. Planting, reaping and threshing is all done by hand.

Area of Mandritsara:

10,000Km2

(½ the area of Wales or the area of Yorkshire)

Population of Mandritsara:

305,000

(According to 2018 cencus data)

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Health-care is basic and limited in rural Madagascar and the Mandritsara district is typical of the whole country. Infant mortality is high and life expectancy is low. There is a government hospital in Mandritsara offering basic medical and maternity care, but the nearest government surgical facility is in Antsohihy, 200km away. Before the Good News Hospital opened, patients needing emergency surgery – a Caesarean Section, for example – had to hire a car and travel these 200km. To this must be added the fact that patients may have taken up to 2 days or even more to reach Mandritsara from the periphery of the district, particularly in the rainy season. The Good News Hospital provides medical, surgical, maternity and ophthalmology services (including cataract surgery) to the population of 250,000 in the Mandritsara district, though many patients come from even further. The next hospital offering eye surgery is 600km away.

The UK has

20x as many physicians
 
15x as many hospital beds

Per head of population as Madagascar