The last couple of weeks have been turbulent in our team. Our project coordinator suddenly resigned at the beginning of the month. Then, when I came back from a well-needed vacation our medical team leader had become sick. He has returned home to rest up. So now I’ve temporarily replace him until he is feeling better.
My days have changed dramatically; I have two telephones, two computers and also two times the workload. Unfortunately this means that I have to deprioritize some work I had planned for the ER. My days are now filled with Excel spread sheets, medical supply consumption data and statistics. I dream about Excel columns and formulas, but in some strange way I like it.
I don’t make a difference for individuals in the same way as before; instead I do my best to improve the health systems we are working with. This will make a difference for the running of the hospital, and in the end, for all the patients. A better analysis of exactly how many tablets of a drug we consume, will lead to better medical orders, less wastage and in the end more accountability over the resources that you give us. Statistics by itself is not the objective; the numbers actually means something. Every number is a patient, a newborn baby, a gunshot victim, a malnourished child or someone who just got cured and could go home. My job is to find connections between these numbers and try to improve the quality of care..
Time never seems to be enough though. I want to do too much. I try to take on challenges that this project has faced for a long time but I have to remind myself that I can’t solve everything in an instant.
We have recruited a new member to our ER family. A new nurse. Finally! It is so difficult to recruit people to come work with us in Chaman due to the security situation. After three rounds of advertising the position, I finally found someone with the experience and the will to work in Chaman. You would think that it should not be so difficult, but it is really not easy.
Once again back in Islamabad, once again waiting. I have still not received my long-term visa and I doubt I will receive it before my time here is over. As I am due to leave in January, I only have two more months here which feels like tomorrow. My replacement arrives in around five weeks.
It has been difficult for MSF to recruit people for missions in Pakistan. I don’t understand why. This sometimes means that when an expats mission is over there is no replacement to hand over the work to. Someone has to work double and that is not good for the continuity for the project. Therefore I feel it is really important to do a good handover. That will make a big difference for the future of the ER. It feels a little bit like I am on my way home in my thoughts. Time has passed quickly but I am still here and there is still time.
The telephone rings. A patient has burns over 25% of his body after he spilt burning kerosene over himself. I want to see him not hear about him. The frustration over the distance returns but I have with time learnt how to handle it.
I am going to use the time I have left well.