Fieldset
Waiting

The days in Islamabad are full of waiting. Waiting for a travel permit and visa extensions. It is difficult to implement what I want when I am not present. But the situation has changed in recent months, and me and my new colleagues’ situation looks more promising.

The days in Islamabad are full of waiting. Waiting for a travel permit and visa extensions. It is difficult to implement what I want when I am not present. But the situation has changed in recent months, and me and my new colleagues’ situation looks more promising. I keep my fingers crossed and I hope you keep yours.

 

I spend my days in front of a computer and on the phone. I have never in my life been sitting so much. I am not created for office work and my innate restlessness has nowhere to go.

 

Yesterday I shopped. I sat with catalogues of medical equipment and drugs, and made a list of everything we need in the emergency room. Due to the absence of international staff in Chaman last year a lot of equipment is in poor condition and the statistics on how much is used is not reliable, it has been difficult to justify large purchases but now it will be like a new start for the project and I’m glad I get to be a part of it. We will not get everything on my list of course but I’ll fight for it. If you are about to do something you should really think it through and do it well otherwise there is a risk that we do more harm than good. However, I will probably not get to see anything of what I order because it takes six months for the materials to arrive. The amount of work done by purchasing and logistics is huge and then the cargo gets stuck at customs for several months waiting for the same travel permit as I am waiting for before it will finally reach Chaman and then I’ll probably already be home.

 

The number of patients who attend the emergency room increases. I do not mean with a few patients, I mean with 252% last month. The increase is a result of increased quality of care, but it could unfortunately reduce the quality for a while because the person who ordered six months ago had never dreamed of such an increase in consumption. Problems are there to be solved right?

 

The phone just rang. A nurse called and asked for advice about a patient that had been shot earlier today close to the border. The bullet had gone right through just above the clavicle but the man was stable. The question was if he could send him with our “ambulance” to Quetta for further care. We have no surgical capacity in Chaman, which will make trauma care very difficult so we are forced to send seriously injured people in a car without medically trained staff for three to four hours. The criteria is easy – life or limbs in danger. That was not the case here. The decision is sometimes hard to live with. I said no.

 

I’m waiting and you are waiting with me

 

Jon