By Vatican News
The Hospitaller Sisters of Mercy are on the ground in Madagascar to help assist the impoverished population that often, cannot afford hospital care.
Sr. Maria Jardiolyn, who runs a health care clinic in the Island Nation, spoke to Vatican News’ Antonella Palermo about the difficult situation.
Sister Maria explained that her Order has been present in Madagascar since 1983, after Catholic Church representatives called for a response to the urgent need for healthcare in the country.
“We came here and found out that many people, especially those who are far from the capital, do not believe in [western] medicine but prefer to follow traditional beliefs, so we are trying to educate them,” she said.
This, she continued, is being done also thanks to the work of volunteers from Europe.
It is difficult for poor people to enter the hospitals: “if you are hospitalized, you need to pay for everything,” Sister Maria explained.
That means, she added, that people end up refusing the care they need because they cannot afford it.
“We, the sisters of Mercy, try to help them and facilitate hospitalization” when it is necessary, she said.
Regarding hopes and expectations for Pope Francis' visit, Sister Maria spoke of great excitement.
We are all hoping, she concluded, that in some way, the voice of the Pope will bring some relief from poverty and exploitation.