Every Friday, mothers and their children gather at the community nutrition centre in the little village of Rantolava, 450 kilometres north east of Antananarivo, the Malagasy capital, to learn more about a healthy diet. The weekly workshops are part of the 3.5 million dollar National Community Nutrition Programme (PNNC) being implemented at 6,000 centres across the country. Madagascar is among the six countries suffering the worst rates of malnutrition in the world – half of all children more

Madagascar has launched an online research network, the Research and Education Network for Academic Learning Activities (iRENALA), which aims to boost science, technology and education in the country, as well as internationalise its science. The network, launched earlier this month (8 June), will promote discussions between worldwide researchers, students and policymakers, and facilitate access to digitised documents available in virtual libraries, according to Horace Gatien, president of more

The Basic Health Centre or Centre de Santé de Base (CSB) II in Anjalajala, near Antsohihy, the capital of Madagascar's northern Sofia Region, is housed in a recently renovated building and its status as a CSB II promises the availability of a trained doctor. But the doctor left for Antananarivo, the capital, in 2002 and has not been replaced, and whenever the remaining nurse is absent, services stop. The situation at this clinic is not unique in Madagascar, where an already weak healthcare more

Madagascar has a low level of HIV prevalence, and managing its AIDS programme should present no major difficulties. But the apparent advantage of a low infection rate, combined with the ongoing political crisis, has brought its own challenges. Madagascar, and the neighbouring islands states of Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles, are anomalies in the context of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Prevalence is very low - around 0.37 per cent, or 24,000 confirmed cases - and restricted to a few sections of the more

Daughters as young as 12 in the villages surrounding Antsohihy, the capital of Sofia Region, in Madagascar's remote, traditional north, often suffer the harmful consequences of falling pregnant and giving birth too young when parents accept zebus (cattle) or cash as a dowry. Nationwide, 3,750 mothers and 16,500 babies die each year during or soon after delivery. Another 75,000 women experience medical problems as a result of childbirth, and an estimated 40 per cent of these women receive more