We’re saving lives
Here and now
20 years on the planet

We’re convinced that every person on our planet ought to have access to basic health care. This universal right remains our dream, and has been for the past 20 years.

Someone with an illness ought to be treated. A hungry child ought to get food. A wounded person ought to be able to go to hospital. Yet there are many places in our world where this is still not a reality.

It is normal to help others. Helping others is one of the main features of humanity. We all have our own problems, which overshadow the problems of others. But even one small miracle each day is enough to change the world for the better. At least the world of the person concerned.

Thank you for helping us with this for these 20 years.

Denisa Augustínová
Martin Bandžák

Why we do it.


Chernobyl victims in Cuba.

In 2000 we witness irreversible consequences to children’s health, following a catastrophe very close to home for us in Czechoslovakia.

On 26 April 1986 in what is now Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident in history took place, with explosions at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The accident, which was at first kept secret, was to be a decisive moment in the cold war as well as the history of nuclear power. It also proved decisive for the photographer Martin Bandžák and the psychologist Denisa Augustínová. In summer 2000 they visit a medical facility for Chernobyl disaster victims in Cuba. They spend several months on the spot, documenting the stories of children from Ukraine and Belarus who have suffered from various anomalies and serious diseases even 15 years after the tragedy.

Located a few kilometres from the capital of Havana, the Tarara facility is used to hide from the world these children traumatized by the nuclear calamity. Their stories become published by many Slovak and Czech media outlets, and shocked the public.

The decision is made to create a humanitarian and health care organization.

MAGNA is born


In Bratislava on 14 May 2001, the MAGNA organization is founded.

Four basic pillars are set at the time of its founding:

  • To be able to choose freely where to provide health and social assistance.
  • In times of humanitarian crises, to intervene quickly where it is most necessary and to help children and their families, regardless of their ethnic, religious, or political interests.
  • To create innovative health projects.
  • To document the fate of disaster victims and tell the stories from forgotten parts of the world, bringing them to the general public.



First mission

In 2002, MAGNA opens its first mission in Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh, where an HIV/AIDS pandemic has killed an estimated 20,000 people, with 180,000 infected with the HIV virus. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have fallen victims to the AIDS pandemic, ravaging the country and causing huge loss of life. Parents dying of the infection leave behind children, many of whom were infected from birth and die on the street without any medical care. At this time there is no health care assistance in the world for these children – some international organizations are beginning to treat adults, while others merely look on. A non-functioning health care system, and the extreme poverty of the families the children come from, make it impossible for the families to care for them. There is no one to give the infected children of the so-called “second wave” the treatment and care they need.

We were the first treat HIV/AIDS among children.

“In Cambodia’s local orphanages we find HIV-positive children in Cambodia tied to beds, without medication or anyone to take any interest. This is decisive for us, and we set about creating a health care system that saved many of their lives.”

With pragmatism and considerable commitment we open an HIV/AIDS children’s treatment facility in the capital city Phnom Penh. We provide them antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, saving many of their lives. We call teams of health care workers from Slovakia and other countries to Cambodia while training local physicians too. We put our first patient on ARV treatment, and become one of the first organizations to treat paediatric patients.

Today, our first patient Rany is 20 years old, and lives and works in Phnom Penh, along with thousands of other children whose lives we helped save. MAGNA has become a leader in treating HIV/AIDS, and continues to provide help to HIV/AIDS victims in Cambodia.

We respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic around the world

We become pioneers in treating HIV/AIDS.

We open treatment programs for treating HIV/AIDS patients and halting the transmission of mother-child infection with a success rate of up to 99% in Cambodia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, Vietnam and Haiti. Tens of thousands of people in our treatment programs are on antiretroviral therapy.

Without treatment, half of all infected children die before their second birthday. There are some 37 million people in the world living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Though there is yet no known cure for HIV/AIDS, the combination of treatments known as antiretroviral therapy (ARV) allows patients to live longer and healthier lives.

We’re building a world without AIDS.

Over 90% of children living with the HIV virus were infected by their mothers. MAGNA programs halt transmission of mother-child HIV infection with a success rate of up to 99%. This means that in our programs children are born AIDS-free and healthy.

Tsunami in Southeast Asia


We learn to help and to work in the context of natural disasters.

In 2005 MAGNA opens a humanitarian mission to assist people in India after a tsunami wave did massive material damage and took thousands of lives.

In dozens of areas in Tamil Nadu, we provide victims with psychosocial assistance and distribute humanitarian material, while building them temporary shelters.

We remain in India for 5 years following the calamity.

Dengue fever epidemic in Cambodia


Breaking point

We treat thousands of children infected from the largest dengue fever epidemic in the last ten years in Cambodia. The newly-opened MAGNA paediatric ward at Takhmau hospital and the in-patient ward fills with patients, lying on the floor and crammed into aisles, and we hospitalize over 100 patients daily. The country is short on medications, infusions, and material, greatly complicating the situation.

We have over 100 physicians and health care workers in the country.

In 2007 MAGNA opens its first extensive medical program at the provincial hospital in Takhmau, Cambodia, putting into operation a fully functional 24/7 in-patient paediatric department and provide medical care to children whose parents seek acute assistance from the country’s devastated health care system, still recovering from the horrors of Pol Pot’s regime. We set up supply chains to deliver medications and material, train local physicians and health care workers, and introduce expert therapeutic procedures. The turning point arrives, and we become skilled direct health care providers.

MAGNA opens offices in the Czech Republic, and then in the USA.



Closer to the patient

Nicaragua is undergoing demographic change, as its population consists mostly of adolescents and young people. Approximately 50% of its children and youth live in poverty, and 19% of them in extreme poverty. One major problem is the high rate of pregnancy in young girls under 15 – the highest in the world.

In rural areas, we introduce health care provision through mobile clinics. Physicians and health care workers make their way to patients even on horseback. We treat those on the margins of society, excluded from health care access.

Hunger and malnutrition

1 in 13 children on our planet suffers from hunger.

Every year 2 million children die of undernourishment. Most children at risk of malnutrition live in Asia and Africa. They have no access to a diet with enough calories to allow their bodies proper development.

The basic remedy for malnutrition is special therapeutic nourishment (RUTF, ready-to-use therapeutic food). It contains all nutrients a child needs to recover. Most children can be cured of acute malnutrition without complications over 8-12 weeks, making this a simple and effective solution for field use.

The broad use of RUTF, which can be stored for long periods without refrigeration contains a specific balance of nutrients, helps us fight malnutrition more efficiently. RUTF can come in a paste similar to peanut butter or in biscuit form. Most children can be treated at home by family combined with follow-up physician examinations at a clinic. This strategy culminates in a success rate of over 90% while reducing referrals for hospitalization.

MAGNA’s first large-scale use of therapeutic food to treat malnutrition was back in 2008 in Kenya and Cambodia. Since then access to specific, vital nutrition has remained one of our main challenges in reducing child mortality, particularly where they are most vulnerable, in countries affected by conflict.

Post-election violence in Kenya


We find ourselves in the midst of post-election violence in western Kenya.

Our base in Kisumu becomes a focus of unrest, as we meanwhile provide humanitarian aid to conflict victims.

Blockade of humanitarian aid in Burma


Burma – Cyclone Nargis

This disaster kills some 300,000 people. The Myanmar army blocks international humanitarian aid, refusing all access by humanitarian organizations to areas affected by the cyclone.

MAGNA sends to the country a leased plane with medications and material from its mission in nearby Cambodia. Despite the restrictions, we manage to distribute them to non-state health facilities in the Irawaddy river delta area, helping to treat over 200,000 patients.



Earthquake and cholera

MAGNA sends a surgical team to the country, just a few days after the 12 January earthquake that changed Haiti into a moonscape. Hundreds of thousands are injured or dead, and millions lose their homes.

In October, after cholera strikes Haiti while hundreds of thousands are still in provisional tent camps or on the street, MAGNA mobilizes to initiate an educational campaign and visit patients.

Famine in Eastern Africa


We treat thousands of malnourished children and mothers.

We respond without delay to the extreme situation developing in northern Kenya near the border with Somalia.

Here we open 9 therapeutic nutrition centres, treating thousands of children and mothers. At the same time we face extreme violence and unrest, as the only international organization with a permanent presence in the Garissa area, with bombs exploding near our hospital and base.



Logistical challenge – Typhoon Haiyan

The typhoon was a logistical test in the Philippines, as it encompasses some 7,000 islands. Immediately afterward the typhoon we send out a team, and within 72 hours they are distributing first aid to 15,000 people on the northern part of Cebu Island.

We then expand our intervention into the eastern and northern parts of Leyte Island, where we reinforce the devastated health care infrastructure and build new health centres.

We have over 90 workers in the field.

Sexual violence

Treating victims is our top priority

Rape and other forms of sexual violence often spread through conflict zones, where it becomes an instrument of humiliation, punishment, control, and terror, but also of destroying community. These can be used to reward fighters or motivate soldiers. Yet there are also millions that become victims of sexual violence even though they live in stable environments.

For us, care of sexual violence victims is a priority. In the Democratic Republic of Congo we have long operated specialized programs for treating such victims. In 2018, we experienced this in the extreme here in the Kasai area.

There are thousands of them, and their numbers are increasing: victims of the Kamwina Nsapu armed militia and Congolese army soldiers. Welcome to Kasai, which in the course of a few months transformed from a peaceful though impoverished area to a hell on earth.

The aftermath is thousands dead, rapes of women and children, over a million homeless, and 80 mass graves – – one of which lies in the village of Bilomba directly in front of the MAGNA humanitarian organization’s hospital, where its medical workers are treating victims of this violence.

Helping victims of sexual violence is part of all MAGNA treatment programs around the world.

Civil war in South Sudan


15 December 2013

In front of the gates of MAGNA’s gates in the capital city Juba we find dozens of dead bodies, with thousands fleeing a massacre. Ethnic violence drives hundreds of thousands from their homes, and the UN establishes temporary camps for the displaced, mostly for displaced Nuer people. Many humanitarian organizations leave South Sudan under an enormous threat of violence.

By 17 December, MAGNA is distributing its medication and supply inventories to the only functioning hospital, the Juba Teaching Hospital, treating hundreds of wounded. We set up medical teams and clinics the camp for 100 thousand displaced people, and remain here for another 5 years.

Hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan, confronted daily by extreme violence and living in fear of their lives, have no access to such basic needs as food, water, and health care, at risk of starvation and disease.

MAGNA provides assistance in Terekeka, Eastern Equatoria, and Jonglei, where we operate some of our most demanding programs in the world.

Our teams offer a base along with specialized medical care, responding to extraordinary situations, famine, and outbreaks of infections affecting isolated communities and internally displaced people.



Exodus to Europe

Over a million refugees enter Europe, large numbers of them fleeing military conflicts in the Middle East. MAGNA mobilizes medical teams, with many health care workers joining us from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria. With some 150 health care workers in the field, we provide assistance at many sites in Hungary, Serbia and Croatia, becoming the largest provider of medical care for the over 600,000 people passing through transit camps in these countries.

The president of Croatia is one of those who thanked us personally for our help.



Series of earthquakes

Two powerful earthquakes hit Nepal on 25 April and 12 May 2015. They killed approximately 8,500 people, and injured another 20,000. After the incident, MAGNA sent a team to Nepal along with material aid in the amount of 30 metric tons medical supplies and medications.

MAGNA teams work in the Sindupalchok district and in provisional tent hospitals, where they provide victims medical and psychological care.

War in Syria


Most of our aid here is for people in besieged areas.

We set up mobile teams here, to ensure medical care even in inaccessible regions. This is the only way to treat the largest possible number of patients. Over half a year, our mobile team in the Homs area treated more than 50,000 people.

Refugees in Lebanon

It is estimated that Lebanon has opened its borders to about 1.5 million refugees from Syria. More than half of the refugees are children.

MAGNA teams treat chronic illnesses, and teams of psychologists give mental health support to children dealing with the serious consequences of trauma from the war in Syria.

Mosul in Iraq and the Yazidi genocide

Iraq bears the burden not only of a wave of refugees from Syria, but its own military conflict with Islamic State radicals. Millions of Iraqis have set out to escape violence, with over a million still living outside their homes. Many barriers stand in the way of returning, so some of them have lived “temporarily” for years in camps, with no real access to basic services.

MAGNA has been providing assistance directly in Mosul, the largest city affected by the war. Here we operate a mobile clinic and support the local maternity ward, one of the few the war spared. We also provide aid in several camps where most of the minority Yazidi community lives, having survived attempted genocide, with thousands murdered and many, especially women, abducted.

Vaccination saves lives and prevents the spread of epidemics

In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 2019 measles epidemic battle we vaccinated almost 230 thousand children.

In 2019, the measles epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo was the world’s largest and fastest-spreading epidemic on the planet. It struck the entire country, and 90% of the more than 5,000 who died were children under 5.

Measles are one of the fastest-spreading of contagious diseases.

MAGNA health care teams in eight health zones in the west of the country reached some 230,000 children through mass vaccination.  This is an operation on the scale of vaccinating almost all children under 5 in Slovakia.

Yumbi in Congo could have been another Rwanda


Ethnic violence in Congo

December 2018: In Yumbi, Mai-Ndombe province in Congo, inter-ethnic conflict breaks out. The result: over 900 dead and almost 60,000 people displaced.

MAGNA sends out its teams and launches intervention. After a year there is a tendency to return home, but the population continues to flow between the two Congo republics and the islands in the river that separates them. Mistrust lingers between the ethnic groups, and permanent solutions are needed. The MAGNA teams remain in place.



MAGNA helps at home in Slovakia, because now it’s needed even here

“As a humanitarian organization, most of whose personnel are medical, we are aware of the complicated situation Slovakia’s health care workers are facing, as protective equipment is often lacking. This is why we’ve decided to help by donating special protective masks to personnel in the department saving the lives of paediatric patients in the most critical condition, including coronavirus patients. Our experience abroad has taught us that health care workers will only be able to work effectively at the epidemic’s peak if they are able to protect themselves throughout its duration,” states MAGNA director Martin Bandžák.

We have been giving assistance to seniors’ homes, distributing protective gear, disinfection, and soap for personal hygiene. MAGNA health care times are also observing the health of the seniors, training the homes’ personnel and clients, to help them do what they can to protect themselves from infection.

We also help people without homes, whose lives have become seriously threated by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Cooperating closely with other organizations, we are providing them respirator masks.

COVID around the world

Over 160 countries have reported cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic. Many of the places we work have limited capacity to respond to the influx of patients with this new disease, who may require intensive care. Paramount is the protection of patients and health care workers affected by the pandemic.

We are engaged in COVID programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Lebanon and Cambodia.

Thank you

2001 - 2021

It’s with your help that we treat people.

Your donations pay for thousands of consultations, treatments, and vaccinations. Every year we treat over 300,000 patients.

If you haven’t started joining us in these treatments, now is a good time to start.

Here and Now