I was very lucky to have had a chance to visit both of our projects here in Chad within the first two months of my mission. The oldest project, a health centre in a small village called Kerfi, has a nutrition centre, consultation rooms, an inpatient department with six beds, a prenatal care unit and a maternity unit. Sara, the expat doctor, gave me a good tour around the facility and during my week long stay there, I supported the logistical team and did a small review of their supply situation.
The second project is a town called Am Timan, about 40km from Goz Beida in the east of the country. The project is new and I got a chance to visit just before we started seeing patients there. We’re taking over the maternity and pediatric wards of the local hospital there, providing free health care for the local residents. I visited Am Timan to help tentatively prepare a measles vaccination campaign after a number of cases were reported. Luckily, the number of cases remained stable so there was no need for a campaign. I was still happy of the occasion to visit and took the opportunity to help plan the supply needs of the burgeoning project.
Since returning from the field, I’ve been focusing on improving the supply situation in N’Djamena and we put our big six month order in to the procurement unit in Amsterdam from where we’re supplied.
We did inventories of our pharmacy, our medical stock and our logistical stock and are trying to put procedures in place to ensure that supply runs smoothly and that we get the most from our stocks.
Next week, we have a truck going to each of the two projects, so we’re currently preparing both medical and logistical cargos for them and I have boxes hanging from the rafters in the dispatch zone.
As soon as those trucks are gone, I’m going to refine my inventories again and try to improve the warehousing here.
There’s lots of work to be done, but it’s very dynamic and interesting. Having been used to a desk job previously, it’s nice to have the opportunity to move around a lot more and to get ‘stuck in’! Last week, we received a 40-foot container of Plumpy Nut, a therapeutic food which comes in a sachet and is used in feeding centres. We were in a rush to get it into storage so I spent the afternoon with an army of daily labourers carrying the boxes from truck to storage.
But there’s never a dull moment here. Just as I’m beginning to get my head around the workload in supply, it appears as though there’s a measles epidemic right here in N’Djamena. So an emergency vaccination campaign for almost half a million kids is on the cards over the next few weeks. I won’t be directly involved in that as we have an Emergency Team coming in for it, but I can already see it taking up my time. Not that I mind though, it’s interesting and these vaccination campaigns are one of the fundamental things that MSF does- its bread and butter if you so will.
I’ll report back on that as soon as it gets underway! That’s all for now…