Following a shocking visit to the mental hospital during the bike ride in 2012 we agreed to fund a major refurbishment of the hospital – a major project. One of our guiding principles is only to involve ourselves in projects which will continue once our work is finished, and we were concerned that the local government, with all its problems, may not honour its commitment to support the hospital once the work was complete.
During an unannounced visit this year (2014) we were delighted to see an additional 6 new trainee nurses looking after the patients. The hospital and wards looked very clean and well-kept and the riders did a little on-site painting work to show support. This hospital is still a far cry from western standards, and mental illness is hugely stigmatised in Madagascar, but we have seen progress from the inhumane with patients chained up in cells to a caring and safe environment. We now are supporting a program so that the patients can spend a much shorter period there, get assessed and go home with the correct care and medicines. We visit the hospital every year during our Annual Tour.