16th-21st June 2019
After a quick overnight stop in Marofatsy, we continued the rest of our 25km trek to Betampona. We were greeted in Betampona with a lovely reception from the school teachers, headmaster, local doctor and village chiefs. Everyone was served a cup of warm lemon tea which went down a treat after a very wet hike!
Work was quickly underway with microscopes set up, information talks taking place and consenting of the children. Some issues with the generator meant Steve, Hannah and Graham, as well as about 15 men from the village soon became electricity experts.
Alice went out to continue looking for snails at different water contact sites around the village and in particular looked for biomphalaria snails – the snail that is involved in the life cycle of schistosomiasis mansoni. (intestinal schistosomiasis).
After a couple of days of collecting snails and leaving them in the sunshine in water to allow them to shed the parasite, Alice very excitedly was able to stain and see the parasite down the microscope! This is the first time this has been done in this part of Madagascar!
There were some big cheers from everyone including the locals and teachers!
This is a big step for confirming the presence of schistosomiasis mansoni. in this region, and in particular for informing and educating local people about its presence and the bodies of water they should try to avoid. It is also very important for helping the population visualise and understand the parasite and it’s impact better.
At the end of our time in Betampona Steve, Manu, Tahiry and Gina had to head back to Marolambo and then onto Tana due to work commitments. The team felt smaller very quickly and everyone was very grateful for their help in the first 2 weeks!
Onwards to Vohidamba!