who we are
care for a woman life for a country
The Akbaraly Foundation is a Humanitarian organization that works to improve life conditions in Madagascar, mainly focusing on women and children health. In 2010, the Foundation launched 4awoman, the largest project of cancer testing and care in sub-Saharan Africa.
Founded in 2008 by Cinzia Catalfamo Akbaraly, the Foundation has contributed over the years to a large number of projects across the country. Currently, its projects involving prevention and health care for women and children are located in the poorest areas of the country.
President and Founder Cinzia Catalfamo Akbaraly works with a talented team of professionals to accomplish the Akbaraly Foundation’s goals and mission.
- Doctor TAMBIARIMALALA Tazana
- Razanadranosy Tsaralahy Angelo
- Haingotiana RATSIMBAZAFY
- Geneviève Rasoanirina
I have started working for this project in April 2016 as the doctor in charge for the diagnosis of uterine cancer at the Akbaraly Foundation’s center in Mahajanga. These 8 months of work allowed me to learn a lot and to develop my professional skills, especially when it comes to uterine cancer.
Every day we welcome many women looking for a diagnosis, who want to take care of their health and know that in order to prevent cancer you have to get regular screenings. But we have also met women that came to our center with advanced cancers, who have no money to pay for their treatment, especially those who come from rural areas.
This project taught me that uterine cancer truly is a public health issue, because most of the women affected by this disease have a very low socioeconomic status.
Luckily, many women have the chance to prevent cancer thanks to early screenings – in those cases, any illness detected is still in a precancerous phase, and the women can benefit from all the necessary treatments, closely followed by our operators.
Ours is a great project that helps a lot of women, especially mothers, to prevent and fight uterine cancer.
Finally, it truly is a pleasure for me to work for the Akbaraly Foundation and with this team, because saving a woman from cancer means saving an entire family.
I have worked at the Rex for the last 4 months, I am a nurse and I work in the pediatrics, malnutrition and vaccination service.
Our service deals with various pediatric issues, from the first consultations all the way to treating all the different cases. We never leave any of the infants and children that come to our Center, we always keep an eye on them, we commit to checking up on them and make frequent follow ups in order to verify our patients’ health conditions and their growth (psychomotor and physiological development).
Other than our consultations, every Friday we receive many cases of malnourished infants and children that come from very poor, destitute families, whom we give food, milk and food supplements for free.
For every case that we follow, we prepare a nutritional plan that will allow each mother to care for their child not only during meals, but to take care of their wellbeing as a whole. This way, the mothers are truly involved in their children’s lives, knowing that a healthy child is not only a joy but the promise of a brilliant future for the whole family.
Thanks to this pediatrics service, the mothers and children don’t lose time during their visits to the Rex. Not only is every visit a chance for the mothers to take care of their children, but it is also a chance to take care of their own health, have a mammogram, have a pap test…as well as talk and exchange opinions with other women.
These months spent at the Rex allowed me to make a great discovery when it comes to healthcare, especially when it comes to women and children’s health: every little detail is important to gain the patients trust. I have also learned everything about uterine and breast cancer, now I can talk about it to all the people I know and I do it every chance I can, inviting all women to come to the Rex for a screening before it’s too late.
Like my fellow colleagues, I believe that our managers always give us the chance to learn and open our minds to other perspectives, to integrate and combine all the services we offer together.
I really love my job, I am proud of working here.
I started working for this project in 2012 as a laboratory technician; I dealt with the reading of the HPV test results and assisted my colleagues during the Pap tests and the staining of the slides for the analyses.
In 2014, with the arrival of the Mobile Unit, known as “Luisa”, and the beginning of the project dedicated to women, I attended a specific training course to become a mammography technician. Since then, I deal with the mammograms on the Mobile Unit and I go everywhere with “her” during her missions on the field.
I love my job, I have learned a lot about the clinical exam of the breast and I even discovered several cases of cancer as I started to interact with the patients. This really allowed me to be more open-minded and to enrich my professional knowledge; for this, I also have to thank our managers: all of them are very open and understanding; they taught all of us to work autonomously, to develop our skills in different areas and to be independent, and to always pay attention to every detail. Our patients should never feel like the lack of certain products affects the quality of our service.
I am very attached to “Luisa”, the mammogram is truly my “baby” and it gives me great pleasure to use it. Even though it can be tiring sometimes, it is so satisfying to hear a woman say: “yes, I want to get a mammogram done, because I care about my health, I still want to care for my husband and children, I don’t want to be a burden for my family. I want to live in peace and not be worried or scared; I want to know more about my health”.
Let me pass on a very important message to my colleagues: all of us should always continue learning, because even though we take care of our patients, and they need us, we can also learn a lot from them. Likewise, we should never stop sharing our knowledge, especially when it comes to teaching the breast self-exam, because that is something that every woman needs to know.
Finally, we should never stop fighting against cancer because, surely, there are many women who have never heard anything about prevention or awareness, and it is our job to take care of them.
I started working here at the reception in 2013. As a receptionist, I am the first person who the people that come to the Rex see, in short, I am an obligatory step for all the visitors: I welcome them and try to help them according to their needs and our procedures.
I really like my job, because it is never boring. To me, working is not just a way of gaining money, but it should also be a pleasure, it should be something we love. Collaborating with the colleagues is also extremely important, because the whole work environment depends on it.
These past 3 years spent at the Rex have truly marked a turning point in the development of my professional skills, especially when it comes to the public, both patients and healthy people, because each person deserves a special attention. I am very aware of the fact that the first contact with me is the first impression that will always be marked in our visitors’ hearts.
Working in this Health Center, I have also learned to take care of my health, without forgetting that, just like my colleagues, I too am responsible for raising awareness. In my job, I have to reassure and convince the women who have come to our Center to get screened for uterine and breast cancer: often, they are hesitant, scared, they don’t know what is going to happen to them, so I have to gently explain, with a smile, that it doesn’t hurt, that they should not be ashamed. Once they speak to our staff, they all feel very reassured.
In short, we need to make every woman aware that a correct screening is the only way of preventing cancer: if we ever got ill, we would risk paying ten times what we are paying now.
Whatever our role, we all share in the same goal, because a healthy and productive population is necessary for the economic growth of the country.
1992. Cinzia Catalfamo, a brilliant Italian businesswoman, arrived in Madagascar where she met, and later married, Ylias Akbaraly.
2008. Cinzia created the Akbaraly Foundation with the goal of improving the quality of life of the Malagasy population. During its first years, the Foundation allocated substantial financial resources to sustainable projects in health, nutrition, education, housing and infrastructure.
2009. Fate decided to turn a new page for the Foundation and for Cinzia’s life, when she was diagnosed with cancer. While she was receiving treatment for her breast cancer in Italy, Cinzia decided that the real aim of the Foundation was to focus all its energy to fight cancer in Madagascar, a country without any treatment or prevention systems.
2010. We launched the 4aWoman program, to battle the breast and gynecological cancers that affect thousands of women in Madagascar and millions in the continent. The program was also born with the aim to improve maternal and child health. This the first oncology program at a national level in sub-Saharan Africa, and it has been endorsed by the Malagasy government and the WHO. The Akbaraly Foundation organized a TEDx Antananarivo Conference called “Ideas for Women Cancer Control in Africa”. More then 40 speakers came from all over the world and the event was the third most watched on-line worldwide.
2011. Akbaraly Foundation organized a TEDx Antananarivo Conference, entitled: “Ideas for Women Cancer Protection in Africa”. More then 40 speakers came from all over the world and we scored as the third most watched event on-line worldwide.
2012. We opened the first Prevention and Health Center in Fianarantsoa, in the South of the country. Four other clinics in the same region started cancer prevention programs.
2013. We arrived in the North of the country, with the opening of a department of Oncology in the Bardelli Clinic in Mahajanga.
2014. We start new services in Fianarantosoa's center and we launched the Mobile Unite health services in the rural areas.
2015. We started offering new services in the Fianarantsoa center and we launched the Mobile Unit project to bring healthcare to rural areas.
MISSion, VISION AND VALUES
In developing countries, such as Madagascar, in spite of their important social role, women suffer much more from the negative effects of disease and poverty, caused by the low level of education and the structural weaknesses of the health system. This is the reason why the mission of the Akbaraly Foundation is to implement all necessary actions to ensure and promote the state of well-being of women and children.
The state of well-being is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but concerns the complete satisfaction of the basic needs of the person as its emotional, health, nutritional, social and cultural rights.
The Akbaraly Foundation fights against extreme poverty and promotes sustainable development of the population of Madagascar improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable groups.
The improvement of the living conditions of the most vulnerable groups responds to the need to protect and promote the respect of the fundamental rights of every human being, based on the principles of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
Each project implemented by the Foundation is set up according to our values:
Respect for all individuals and cultures
The importance of strategic partnerships
Accountability and transparency
Economic sustainability of any intervention
Multiculturalism of the staff
Holistic and integrated vision