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A beacon of hope for the future

For 25 years, The Good News Hospital has been a beacon of hope in Madagascar one of the world’s poorest nations.

Before it opened in a remote part of the island, patients needing emergency surgery would travel 200km to the nearest government facility. Today, the hospital performs approximately 1,600 operations a year. However, medical experts say the need is ten times greater. 

SIM UK member Ted Watts is the senior surgeon at the Mandritsara hospital and is spearheading an exciting vision, which by God’s grace, will ensure this vital medical mission continues for years to come.

“The hospital needs to expand how many operations it does as we anticipate the number of patients will continue to rise,” explains Ted, whose wife Rachel also works as a paediatrician within the small medical team.

Ted and Rachel Watts

The small, 57-bed hospital provides medical, surgical, maternity and ophthalmology services (including cataract surgery) to Mandritsara’s population of 250,000 – as well as patients from across northern Madagascar – where staff share the gospel, as well as provide life-saving, compassionate care.

 However, with very limited training opportunities and fewer than 100 surgeons serving the island’s 26 million inhabitants, the hospital has always relied on overseas missionary surgeons

“While we do very much welcome both junior and senior doctors from the UK joining us for a short time, at the heart of our plan is looking to the future, when some years down the line, we’ll have local, Malagasy surgeons who are mission-minded and providing high-quality surgical care,” explains Ted, sent by Beeston Free Evangelical Church.

Ted Watts, centre, during surgery at
The Good News Hospital

For this vital medical mission to continue, the hospital plans to offer the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) training programme to Malagasy doctors, which is a five-year integrated Christian discipleship and post-graduate surgical speciality programme.

 “We believe the best way forward is to train Malagasy doctors to staff the surgical department, who in turn, can train the next generation of missionary surgeons to follow in their footsteps,” adds Ted.

 A new theatre complex is being built to both increase the surgical capacity of the hospital, as well as provide essential training facilities for the Malagasy trainees.

The surgical complex will include three major operating theatres and a minor operating theatre; four consultation rooms and a new recovery and intensive care unit.

“We have made good progress because when the Government laid off construction workers during lockdown, we decided to keep our builders in employment, many of who are itinerant and need to work and because the infection rate on a building site here is low,” says Ted.

“Now it’s almost ready to put on the roof and we’re on target to perform the first operation before the end of next year.

 To find out more, or if you are interested in joining this mission-centred medical ministry, please contact Ted Watts at ted.watts@mandritsara.org.uk

By Kerry Allan

Please pray

  • For the hospital staff as they serve in the face of COVID-19.
  • For God to bless plans to recruit Malagasy mission-minded surgeons to hold out the hope of Jesus Christ as they offer compassionate, skilled surgical care.
  • For more Christian doctors and nurses to plug the hospital staffing deficit, which is ongoing.

This was posted on 24 September 2020.

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