Fieldset
Renovating from a distance

Too many piles of paper on my desk and my technical logistician is on vacation. In the top drawer there is an approved project form. These forms are used as a checklist for starting larger logistics activities within the project.

Too many piles of paper on my desk and my technical logistician is on vacation. In the top drawer there is an approved project form. These forms are used as a checklist for starting larger logistics activities within the project. With this form approved, everything is ready to start with some renovations.

 

One of the most important parts of this form is the budget. How much does it cost in Quetta to purchase the various components, how much it will cost to install a new waterline? When I call the logistician of our clinic in Kuchlak and ask if he can get some quotations from contractors, he tells me that it’s not necessary to do so beforehand. But we need to have a decent budget. Two days later, he walks into the office and after drinking tea, and chatting about his family, he gives me a stack of bills. For each part of the renovation project, he has requested a price from three contractors. The quality of all three is good and they are reliable; they have often worked for us. After this, we discuss the plan and the budget with the project coordinator. When can we start? Soon.

 

While the town becomes quiet in the evening, I call the “log” (logistician) and tell him that the contractors can start tomorrow. He has come up with a scheme to avoid delaying or interfering with the medical activities. While there are some non-medical activities at the clinic, and activities that are only the responsibility of the logistician, he always keeps the medical activities in mind to ensure that they are not hindered.

 

In the next two days, a new surgical dressing room will be built, facilities will be provided in a number of rooms that can also be used in the warm weather and we will move the fridge holding the ‘cold chain’ medication to another location. (Cold chain contains the medication that needs to be stored in a cold environment.)

 

After two days, the logistician comes to the office with photos on his mobile phone of the progress that has been made. The surgical dressing room floor has been tiled, water pipes have been installed and the electrical system has been extended. From the pictures it all looks good. Good work completed. The only thing still missing is the curtains in the surgical dressing room. The dimensions he gives me—8 by 15—seems a bit odd; the room seems much smaller than that. For a moment I start to sweat. Were we talking about different rooms? Did we mix up some of the activities? Then his eyes widen and he starts laughing loud about some British history. He had expressed the dimensions in feet, not metres.

 

After another day the work has been finalised. I’m still a bit sceptical because I can’t believe that it’s all been finished this quickly. However, the medical staff that come to the office after seeing the work are very excited.

 

The next stage of renovation work in the clinic is to repair an underground water tank holding five cubic metres of water. After this first project I am looking forward to the next.