Over the weekend, MSF hosted our official Project End party. Around 270 people – from staff to village chiefs to local suppliers – came out and it was a huge success. This is also a significant milestone as it officially started a 2 week countdown to the official handover date of May 31st. As such, I was asked to write a brief update for the folks back in our Amsterdam headquarters and thought that you might also be interested to hear how things are going.
MSF is just like any other organization and is full of acronyms. To help you out:
- MoH = Ministry of Health
- Inpats = people who are working in the project but were hired somewhere else.
Here in Dubie, we could not find many qualified medics locally so many have been hired in Lubumbashi and then sent to Dubie to work. Now, at the end of their contract, we have to transport them all back home.
While I can’t say that it hasn’t been without the odd hiccup, the handover of our project in Dubie is progressing well and things are largely on track. Outreach activities are officially over as we spent the first two weeks of May on final visits to each MSF supported health center. We have also started to re-align services in the hospital to match the current Ministry of Health staffing and the anticipated drop in patient numbers. Here in Dubie, we could not find many qualified medics locally so many have been hired in Lubumbashi who were then sent to Dubie to work. Now, at the end of their contract, we have to transport them all back home. Our first set departs on May 18th and a steady stream will follow until our official handover date of May 31st.
In all outreach sites, the MoH will assume responsibility after our departure. However, here in Dubie, the hospital and health center will be run in partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Catholic Sisters. In theory, at least, as it is not yet clear if they have come to an agreement. To avoid taking sides, MSF will be donating everything to the “health structure”, as represented by the MoH and the Sisters. While all sides have officially agreed to this and I do not anticipate any huge problems, things continue to brew below the surface so only time will tell.
Over this past weekend, we held our project closure party…Shamwana vs. Dubie soccer match on Friday, National Staff tombola on Saturday morning, followed by a very successful party with 270 people in attendance and dancing until 3:00 am!
On a final note, our HIV program will not be handed over and will continue to be managed through support from the Shamwana project. As was done in Kilwa, no new patients will be added and an MSF national staff nurse will stay in Dubie to manage the cohort. Quality control will be maintained through bi-monthly expat visits.