The last few weeks have been very up and down. I’ve gone
from feeling extremely frustrated to excited and motivated. I find it amazing
how quickly the mood of the project can change.
A series of frustrations crept up on me lately- it can be
extremely difficult to find out what is happening here. It’s easy to see the
resulting problem- but it’s so much more difficult to understand the reasons
and complexities to why the resulting problem occurs, and one of the most frustrating
things for me is how long it takes to get to the bottom of it. A recent
example-in a high DR-TB area, all TB suspects should have culture and drug
sensitivity testing (DST) as well as smear to begin treatment- yet many were
not being tested. To figure out why they were not being tested took weeks of
questions, discussions, confusion and misunderstandings. Were the doctors and
nurses aware they could get these tests, what lab was producing the smear
results, why were the samples not being sent to the central DST lab? Finally,
we got to the bottom of the problem-the incorrect form was being sent with the
samples. Yipee, finally understanding the problem should result in a solution!
But no, the sheer number of samples that would need the additional tests would
overwhelm the lab as there are not enough staff to cope with the work. So a
decision was made to focus on expanding our activities to the new areas, and
getting it right in the new areas. We can’t do everything at once, a priority
has to be set. But it doesn’t make it any easier when you see a way to make
something better, and then can’t fix it-frustration sets in!
But I started this by saying I’m now feeling motivated and
empowered. The long-time MSFers often accuse “first missioners”, (people who
are new to MSF like myself), of not being realistic about what one can achieve.
They are so right, I came here hoping to make things better and want to do it
all at once… but then the longer you are here the more one begins to settle
into a frame of mind where you believe things can’t just be changed that
quickly and some things might even have to be accepted….
It was just at this point that I was sent on a management
training course along with a handful of the other international staff and a
dozen of the national staff managers. I have to admit, I wasn’t all that
excited about the course until I went on it! As well as learning a ton of
useful tactics to be a better manager, communication, negotiation, planning etc.
our team went through a transformation and came out feeling more empowered and
motivated to bring about positive change. I’m hoping this feeling lasts!