Unveiling Madagascar: Nature’s Wonders and Critical Realities


Nestled off the eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar stands as an enigmatic gem, weaving a narrative of natural splendor, cultural richness, and pressing adversities. This article aims to unravel the layers of this captivating island nation, exploring its geographic allure, the mesmerizing wildlife, the pervasive malnutrition gripping the country, and the specific challenges related to premature babies.

Geographical Marvels


Madagascar, the world’s fourth-largest island spanning approximately 587,041 square kilometers, sits majestically in the Indian Ocean, isolated from the African mainland by the Mozambique Channel. This unique positioning has nurtured diverse ecosystems, ranging from lush rainforests and pristine beaches to towering mountains and arid deserts, sculpting a landscape that mesmerizes global visitors.

Madagascar’s unparalleled biodiversity, with 90% of its wildlife found nowhere else on the planet, stands as a testament to the island’s unique and irreplaceable natural heritage.

Nature’s Extravaganza: Unique Wildlife and Ecosystems


Madagascar’s biodiversity is unparalleled, hosting about 90% of its wildlife exclusively found on the island. The charismatic lemurs, thriving in Ranomafana National Park’s lush rainforests, epitomize the island’s exceptional biodiversity. Beyond these iconic primates, Madagascar’s landscapes encompass diverse environments, such as the mesmerizing limestone formations of Tsingy de Bemaraha and the surreal spiny forests. Each region showcases distinct flora and fauna, fostering an incredible variety of life.

Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

The island boasts an array of unique species, including chameleons, vibrant birds like the Madagascar paradise flycatcher, and peculiar leaf-tailed geckos. Explorers revel in Madagascar’s biodiverse realms, offering exceptional encounters with nature’s wonders. It’s an immersive journey unveiling the island’s ecological treasures and fostering profound appreciation for its diverse ecosystems.

Madagascar invites visitors to witness the marvels of nature, showcasing an irreplaceable and diverse ecological heritage in every corner of this enchanting island nation.

Photo by Harshit Suryawanshi on Unsplash

Madagascar's Complex Realities

While Madagascar's natural allure captivates, beneath this beauty lie intricate challenges spanning healthcare accessibility and educational limitations, painting a more complex picture of the nation's realities.

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Health Challenges: Access and Infrastructural Limitations

Pauvreté madagascar

Madagascar is confronted with a multitude of health challenges, including limited access to primary healthcare, recurring health crises, and high rates of infant mortality. The country’s health system, weakened by factors like high rates of illiteracy and gender inequity, struggles to provide adequate care. Efforts to enhance healthcare access and quality, such as USAID initiatives and collaborations like Health Policy Plus, aim to mitigate these challenges. However, significant hurdles persist, including distances to health centers and the prevalence of diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria.

Chronic Malnutrition: A National Crisis

Malnutrition remains a pervasive issue in Madagascar, with nearly 47% of children under the age of 5 suffering from chronic malnutrition. The repercussions extend beyond child survival, impacting economic productivity and national development. Climate shocks, poor harvests, and the economic fallout from COVID-19 have worsened the situation, leading to food insecurity for millions. Despite interventions and assistance programs, the cost of malnutrition continues to weigh heavily on the country’s GDP.

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Premature Babies in Madagascar

In 2018, the maternal mortality rate and the neonatal mortality rate were assessed at 408 per 100,000 live births (INSTAT – RGPH 2018) and 21 per 1,000 live births (MICS 2018), respectively, for Madagascar. However, the targets for SDG 3 regarding maternal and neonatal mortality are less than 70 per 100,000 LB and 12 per 1,000 LB by 2030.

According to Madagascar’s roadmap for accelerating the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality (FDRARMMN) for 2023 – 2027, the objective is, at least, to reduce the maternal mortality rate to 295 per 100,000 LB and the neonatal mortality rate to 17 deaths per 1,000 LB by 2027.

Without a 45% acceleration in our reduction of the maternal and neonatal mortality rates, Madagascar will not achieve these objectives by 2027 or by 2030.

Donwload source Madagascar Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) – PDF (5 MB)


Statistical Insights

  1. Infant mortality rate: 40/1,000 live births
    Source: CDC in Madagascar.
  2. Madagascar is ranked 173rd out of 191 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI). Source: BMZ
  3. More than three quarters of the people live in extreme poverty. BMZ
  4. Among under-five-year-olds, nearly one in two children is affected by chronic malnutrition – UNICEF DATA
  5. Nearly half of all children between the ages of 5 and 17 have to work – BMZ
  6. Annual gross national income per capita is 480 US dollars, far below the average for other sub-Saharan African countries – World Bank.

Time for Action

In conclusion, these distressing statistics highlighting high maternal and neonatal mortality rates alongside prevailing poverty and premature births emphasize why we at Compassion Madagascar are fervently engaged in our mission. The urgency is undeniable, as these challenges starkly contrast with global targets for 2030.

Current Projects


90% of sick children come from needy families. This project saves the lives of desperately ill children in Madagascar. It covers all costs related to medical and surgical treatment, as well as food, for these sick children who, without this help, would not have access to the health care they urgently need. 

Kangaroo Mother Care

The aim of this project is to promote and implement the Kangaroo Mother Care method in Madagascar. This method is designed to improve the healthcare provided to newborn babies aged 0 to 28 days who are premature and/or have low birth weight by placing them on the chest of their Mother, or any other person.

Education For All

It aims to give opportunity and enable Malagasy children to have a bright future by supporting them in their education. The aim of the project is to enable out-of-school children to return to school with nutritional support, knowing that a hungry belly has no ears. Sponsors choose the number of children they wish to support.