Nice traditions should be continued. For this reason, Axonlab will once again refrain from giving customer gifts this year and instead support a charitable organization.
Albert Schweitzer Foundation and other aid projects on the African continent
Axonlab has been supporting the Albert Schweitzer Foundation in Gabon, West Africa, for over 20 years. There – more precisely in the village of Lambaréné, far from civilization – stands the jungle hospital founded by Albert Schweitzer. It is important to us that our local commitment is sustainable. Read in our blog post "Social Responsibility – Our Service Technician in Lambaréné" about how we support the hospital.
Other support work has also been carried out on the African continent in recent years: whether for the Mercy Ships off Senegal, for basic medical care for people in Uganda or for the Peter Bachmann Foundation, for which Axonlab supported the renovation of a center for street people in the Ethiopian metropolis of Addis Ababa.
A health center in rural Madagascar
Our commitment this year is in Madagascar, the island nation off the southeast coast of Africa.
The development cooperation organization Nouvelle Planète has been supporting initiatives of population groups living in rural areas since 1986 in order to improve their living conditions and give them more autonomy. One of the organization's projects is concerned with improving medical care for 10,000 inhabitants in the municipality of Ambatomena. Axonlab is supporting the construction of a health center for the local population.
Medical care in Madagascar is poor: 65% of the population lives more than ten kilometers from a health infrastructure. The further you get from urban centers, the more difficult it is to reach a health facility. This is why it is important to support and build medical health facilities in rural areas. The village where the health center supported by Axonlab is being built, is located 180km south of the capital Antananarivo in a rural area at an altitude of almost 1,800m above sea level.
Especially during the rainy season, traveling to the urban agglomeration for medical care is a major challenge due to the mountainous topography and poor road conditions.
Urgent need for renovation: Leaky roof, mold infestation and lack of space
The current available infrastructure of the health center is inadequate and outdated according to Nouvelle Planète's analysis. The health center of Ampanatoavana was built in 1978 using mud bricks and straw.
The building is still in use today. Although the roof was renovated with sheet metal 20 years ago, the building is still extremely dilapidated: the roof leaks, the ceiling is infested with mold, doors are unsecured and floor tiles are broken. No health center can function like this. In addition to the dilapidated infrastructure, there is a lack of accommodation for those accompanying patients. In Malagasy customs, it is not possible to leave a patient alone in the health center. The fear of death is almost omnipresent. However, given the economic situation of the households, the cost of the stay of the accompanying person is a great obstacle to visit the health center.
No electricity, no water and a motorcycle from the WHO program
The medical equipment available is also insufficient to provide adequate care at the center. Medical teams have to deal with the bare minimum. The health center has only four beds (in a desolate condition) and an office. In addition, the health center draws its water from a traditional well owned by a neighboring family and has no electricity. The photovoltaic system (financed by UNICEF) is used exclusively to power the refrigerator. In case of night care (delivery or emergency), the staff uses candles. Recently, a WHO program provided a motorcycle to facilitate emergency response and awareness campaigns.
New building, a well and a photovoltaic system
The focus of this project is a new building with seven rooms, which will become the actual health center. In addition to an examination and treatment room, the plan is to build an observation room, a birthing room, a pharmacy and a common room. The existing building will also be renovated and converted into rooms for the nursing staff. In addition, a third new building will be constructed to house the accompanying persons.
In order to ensure proper hygiene within the compound, two toilet blocks will be built, one reserved for patients and the other for medical staff and patient escorts. To ensure sustainable access to water, a new well will be dug and equipped with a solar pump and reservoir. In addition, the three buildings will be powered by a photovoltaic system (each with its own risk mitigation system). The light is guaranteed thanks to about fifteen LED lamps and allows quality medical care 24 hours a day.
We sincerely wish the project success so that the medical care in the community is improved and as a direct consequence, a reduction in infant, child and maternal mortality is possible.