‘They had no running water or electricity’: Norwich doctor pledges help to Madagascan hospital after trip

Muriel, the only nurse to serve 3,000 people in the local area. Picture:Mark Stubbs

Muriel, the only nurse to serve 3,000 people in the local area. Picture:Mark Stubbs - Credit: Mark Stubbs

Mark Stubbs. Picture: Mark Stubbs

Mark Stubbs. Picture: Mark Stubbs - Credit: Mark Stubbs

As the UK celebrates 70 years of the NHS, a Norwich doctor has spoken of his recent trip to a Madagascan field hospital, which made him appreciate the health care system at home all the more.

Mark Stubbs travelled to the African island as an expedition doctor for a team of wildlife researchers.

Whilst staying in the northern part of the island near Mahajanga, Dr Stubbs visited a local hospital which served 3,000 people.

He said: 'As I walked in it was like stepping back 500 years. The nurse, Muriel, was the only person working in the hospital. There were four beds, but only one of them had a mattress.

The one bed in the Madagascan field hospital with a mattress. Picture: Mark Stubbs

The one bed in the Madagascan field hospital with a mattress. Picture: Mark Stubbs - Credit: Mark Stubbs


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'She had no running water and no electricity. If people wanted to bring their relatives to the hospital, they had to walk a mile to the well to bring back water for the patient.'

Dr Stubbs, 34, continued: 'Muriel showed me the pharmacy as well, which she also runs. She had a few bags of medical solution, and a handful of antibiotics. Not only do they not have the resource, they don't have the medication either.'

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The father-of-one continued: 'She was an inspiration. She puts herself in the way of so much disease, they'd just come out of malaria season, and yet she keeps going even though she probably gets paid tuppence for it.'

Dr Stubbs, who has a six-year-old son named Aubrey, continued: 'Coming back and seeing the UK celebrating 70 years of the NHS makes you realise what we do have here, and how proud of it we should be. We don't just have a health care system, we have one of the best systems in the world.'

One of the beds for patients. Picture: Mark Stubbs

One of the beds for patients. Picture: Mark Stubbs - Credit: Mark Stubbs

He continued: 'Aside from the practical problems with resources in Madagascar, a lot of patients shy away from going to hospital. They tend to use witch doctors and herbal remedies for illnesses, and only go to the hospital when they're really unwell.'

Upon returning to his home in Ketts Hill a week ago, Dr Stubbs pledged to raise the funds to get the field hospital running water and electricity.

He said: 'I asked Muriel what would make the biggest difference to her and she said electricity and water. It'll only cost £2,000 which is nothing, for the difference it could make.'

To help Dr Stubbs raise the remaing £1,000 of the funds needed, visit his Just Giving page.

The examination area of the hospital. Picture: Mark Stubbs

The examination area of the hospital. Picture: Mark Stubbs - Credit: Mark Stubbs

Muriel stands by her medicine cabinet in the pharmacy. Picture: Mark Stubbs

Muriel stands by her medicine cabinet in the pharmacy. Picture: Mark Stubbs - Credit: Mark Stubbs

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