A Weekend at Work

It is the weekend, but we are not idle in Malemba!

It is the weekend, but we are not idle in Malemba!

This weekend started off well: we had a late movie-night last night and we needed well over two cups of Nescafé to start the day today. My day involves organizing a lot of payments including salaries.  All morning I had MSF employees marching one by one into my office to retrieve their pay slips.

We prepared the envelopes carefully, inspecting the amounts, converting dollars to Congolese francs . . . and it was with some anxiety that I begin to pay the staff after one last recount. I especially do not want to make a mistake!

In addition to paying the staff, I also pay the bike riders who transfer patients from remote health areas of Malemba to the hospital. The "waiting room" is always packed!

But today we plan to close the office at noon. Because the vaccination campaign is over, for the first time in a month we will be able to enjoy a real weekend! The project teams rest—recent weeks have been intense, and everyone needs to take a little time for themselves to nap, read, walk . . . we may even try to arrange a small boat cruise on the river tomorrow.

This is the first time that the entire team is resting. Well, almost all! At the hospital, doctors and nurses never stop. Although with some 80 patients for 50 beds, there is no way to slow down! Everyone looks forward to seeing the impact of the vaccination campaign, as the number of daily admissions is bound drop soon. That would mean that we could gradually reduce the number of beds, allow some members of the team to take a few days off, and start to prepare for our next battle, as the fight against measles in Katanga is far from over!