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The medical expedition of Slovenian students and doctors will be a small but significant aid effort. Photo: EPA

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Five doctors going to Matanga; Nearest X-ray 770 kilometers away

The costs of three-months’ worth of medicine are estimated at around 17,000 euros
8. November 2017 ob 13:48
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

In Madagascar there are 16 times less doctors per capita than in Slovenia. Some people have to travel for several days to see a doctor. The medical expedition of Slovenian students and doctors is a small but significant aid effort. The three doctors and two dentists already have their hands full just preparing for the trip, on which they will set-off in May.

For more than three decades now medical students have been visiting different countries to help locals. The expeditions, currently taking place in five different regions in developing countries, are intended for students finishing their medical studies and young graduated doctors. They are often also joined by registrars and medical specialists. "It's usual for people who take part in an expedition to return many times," explained Aida Zečkanović, one of the five members of the team. Conditions that have to be fulfilled in order to be part of an expedition, organized by the Section for Tropical Medicine at the Medical Faculty in Ljubljana, are to pass an exam in tropical medicine and take part in a so-called tropical weekend – a three-day education event on medical expeditions.

Slovenia's medical students will spend three months in Madagascar - that's how long their visa will be valid for. When one mentions Madagascar most Slovenians first think of missionary Pedro Opeka, who has been active there for decades and still helps out the expeditions. "Mr. Opeka has been helping us for many years in the purchase of medicine, which can be obtained in Madagascar, and our transport to Matanga. We normally also visit him at his mission and also attend one of his masses. The whole hospital in Matanga works as part of Opeka's mission in Madagascar."

Ksenja Tratnik, MMC; translated by K. J.