31 October 2014

We're planning for the next year. Every October, MSF projects around the world sit down and map out a strategy for the upcoming year.  Every field will propose improvements, investments, downgrades, upgrades, and all sorts of other changes for 2015. Now in Moissala, we're smack in the middle of the process.  It's been hours of meetings, with dozens of documents bouncing around inboxes all over the country.

After five years of presence, and our third year of SMC (seasonal malaria chemoprevention) malaria prophylaxis distribution (this year to an unprecedented 80 000+ children), we're proposing to change our focus to mainly malaria prevention.  Malaria is the leading killer in this district. MSF intervened here in Moissala rather than in other districts because the malaria rates were so high. After the prophylaxis distribution, we can see a dent.

Last week was the second week with a 0% mortality rate in the Malaria Ward that we manage at the district hospital. Not a single child died in our care this past week. It was cause for celebration, and a round of applause broke out at our Monday morning staff meeting. That news painted a smile on all of our faces.

It was ammunition for us as we headed into more hours of meetings to strategize 2015. We all work together to create a cohesive proposal to present to the coordination, the desk, and then the 'powers that be,' all the way up at the top in Paris.  This upcoming year, we're proposing to concentrate on reducing the rate of malaria, which is right now somewhere around 100%. 

Every single person in the district gets malaria.  The average is that one person gets malaria once every three months, a doctor here told me.  Adults and older children have developed natural immunity from surviving so many cases of malaria, but younger children have no natural protection.  Hence the bednets, prophylaxis campaigns, and community education -- to reduce the malaria rates in the most vulnerable population.

Our day in front of the committee is November 5th, which is one of the later slots. We've got some extra time to polish our proposals, but that means we have a lot less time to prepare the iron-clad guideline for 2015: the budget. Once the proposals are accepted, rejected, or modified by the committee, we have to refine our rough estimates into a budget for the coming year.

And I will not be around for the process. In a couple weeks, I'm signing off after nine months of mission, to hand over the torch to another logistician.  We will have to see how the MAP goes for this field through emails and Facebook. We shall see. On verra.