Stories

Switzerland supports Medair Madagascar’s COVID-19 response

His Excellency Mr Chasper Sarott, Ambassador of Switzerland, visits Toamasina (eastern Madagascar)

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Medair has deployed two emergency response teams in Toamasina, eastern Madagascar, to implement infection prevention and control measures within health facilities. These measures support the government’s water and sanitation response in Atsinanana region.

Medair’s response focuses on health facilities, through the training of managers and hygienists and the assessment of IPC (infection prevention & control) systems, as well as on communities, by raising individual awareness and distributing handwashing and disinfecting items to families.

The Swiss Embassy supports the response through the SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), which covered 52% of the funding. “Medair’s core humanitarian activities are always in line with what we, as Swiss nationals, are keen to support, » explained Ambassador Sarott during an interview.

On July 4, Mr Sarott spent a day in Toamasina. There, he was welcomed by a large delegation which included the regional Governor, the region’s Prefect, and the city’s Mayor. Local media was also invited to attend. Mr Sarott flew to Toamasina in a Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) aircraft. MAF, Medair’s longstanding partner, regularly employs Swiss pilots.

Swiss Ambassador with our team

The Ambassador was able to see first-hand how Medair fights against the Covid epidemic. His visit started at the Regional control center where Hanta Rabesandratana, Programme Coordinator, presented Medair’s current and planned activities. Following the visit, His Excellency shared his thoughts on the pandemic: « This crisis is different from those we are used to seeing, but I believe that Medair’s experience and expertise puts it in a unique position to best fight the virus. The team I met is young, motivated, and fit enough to last on this marathon. Of course, I have only spent one day here and have not seen everything, but I have noticed how strong the team’s commitment is and there is no better way to win in the long run.”

Swiss ambassador being interview

The Swiss Government has also contributed to the fight against Covid by purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health centres. Two of them, CSB II Ankirihiry and CHU Analankinina, had the pleasure of receiving PPEs and hygiene kits from the Ambassador himself. While in the area, Mr Sarott made a courtesy call to Betania private clinic, which is managed by Swiss nationals.

He ended his visit talking about future partnership possibilities in order to better serve the most vulnerable: “Each life matters; every time we save someone or improve someone’s life, we are one step closer to making our world better.” added Mr Sarott.