Third Consecutive Madagascar Outreach Programme 2018

26 Nov 2018 - 15:00
Candice Bonaconsa Madagascar 2018

Dates: 15 – 22 September 2018

For the third consecutive year, Candice Bonaconsa and her husband – in connection with Common Ground Church – led a team of seven volunteers with varied healthcare and educational backgrounds to Madagascar for a short-term outreach programme.

Common Ground Church (Rondebosch, Cape Town) has a longstanding relationship with Growing the Nations. Growing the Nations is a Non-Profit Organisation addressing the need for therapy services in communities where it is not readily available. In Madagascar, the focus is on establishing Occupational Therapy and making therapy and therapeutic services available to people with disabilities and vulnerable groups. Growing the Nations has also developed a role in the Madagascan Ministry of Health to develop CPD and especially for nurses and allied health professionals. For the past ten years, groups from Common Ground have supported this work through short term outreaches addressing various expressed support needs by the organisation in Madagascar.

This year, the focus was on three areas, namely a therapeutic program, manufacturing devices for children with disabilities, and a two-day CPD workshop for Nurse Anaesthetists:

Therapeutic Program

A team from Commonground ran their third consecutive program for around 28 children with varied disabilities, ranging from the age of 5 to 15 years old in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The team was joined by Anri-Louise Oosthuizen of Growing the Nations, 28 Malagasy volunteers, and 10 newly qualified occupational therapists (first to ever qualify in Madagascar). Input sessions were conducted for primary caregivers of the children and the local teacher in addition to daily sessions with the children, which included such targets as: fine motor-, gross motor- and life-skills, as well as music and movement, and art and sensory integration for the children. For the past two years this program has been run by the Commonground Team. This year is was directed and run by the newly qualified Malagasy Occupational Therapists, while the Commonground Team positioned themselves as support. The main idea was to get the Madagascan Occupational Therapists to direct the activities, but then discuss with our therapists about why we’re doing these activities – thus adding to the learning and teaching aspect of OT students.

Candice: One of the greatest outputs of the program was seeing the ownership of the newly qualified OTs and how they stepped into leading this program. It also made such a difference that they were leading it in their language and used culturally specific examples in the activities. We became the support to helping the reach their goals. We are learning!

Manufacturing Devices

For a few years a retired doctor and a businessman, who both have a passion for carpentry, went across to Madagascar and started a workshop for manufacturing devices for local children with disabilities to support and aid Growing the Nations. A number of local people and OT students were trained in the construction of these devices. The workshop was also run for the third consecutive year during the outreach programmes.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) workshop for Nurse Anaesthetists

For the first time during the Madagascar Outreach trip, a two-day case-based interactive workshop was also organised for 35 nurse anaesthetists and was run by a Cape Town based anaesthetist, Dr Marlize du Preez, and Candice Bonaconsa.

Overall the workshop with the nurse anaesthetists was very well received. Graphic recording was incorporated within the workshop which proved highly beneficial to the participants, despite the fact that all the facilitation and lecture notes had to be translated into French. Due to the success of the workshop and the report that was sent to the Madagascan Ministry of Health, the team have been asked to return again next year and conduct more workshops with the nurse anaesthetists.