What do most people think of when they hear “Madagascar?” The movies of course! We love them all, but they don’t even come close to giving you a glimpse of the real Madagascar. So here are a few important facts for you to know:
- Madagascar ranks in the top ten poorest countries of the world. The lack of quality medical care on the island is a reflection of this extreme poverty.
- It is the world’s 4th largest island and is approximately 1,000 miles from top to bottom.
- Madagascar has a population of over 22 million people from 18 ethnic/tribal groups. They are called Malagasy.
- Madagascar is home to charming chameleons, curious lemurs, hissing cockroaches, screaming lizards, lush rain forests, arid plains, and by far the highest number of plant and animal species living only in one place (naturally living nowhere else on earth).
- Close to 90% of its forested area has been destroyed.
- The lifetime risk that a Malagasy woman will die in childbirth is 1 in 45 (just for a comparison, in the USA it’s 1 in 2100, in Sweden it’s 1 in 11,400)**
- The maternal mortality ratio is 440 women per 100,000**
- 51% of births are attended by skilled health personnel**
- Only 40% of Malagasy women receive 4 prenatal visits during their pregnancy (in the USA, the average number is 13 prenatal visits)
- Only 27% of women use a modern method of contraceptive**
- The Adolescent (15-19 years) birth rate is 148 women per 1,000 births. This is among the highest in Africa**
(**According to the UNFPA – The State of the World’s Midwifery, 2011)