In MSF it is important that we understand the context of our surroundings and the needs of the populations with whom we work.
In doing this we keep strong communication links with local authorities, health organisations and other influential groups or individuals.
It also involves taking occasional exploratory trips to see for ourselves exactly what is going on.
We recently went on one of these trips to a town a couple hours away, spoke to the staff at the health centre, visited the local gold mine, played with the local children…
Most of us who work for MSF love to travel and dream of big adventures.
For us, these trips are a real highlight and often don’t seem much like work at all. (Pictured above: Sarah, Midwife)
The specific aim of this trip was to investigate reports of growing mining activities in the area.
The men working in these mines are usually at risk of many infections, including HIV, and due to their conditions, often find it difficult to access health care. (Pictured above: Karen, Medical Team Leader (left); Colette, Medical Coordinator (right))
If you look in most directions in a country like the DRC, you will find somewhere that sorely needs support.
The question is where do we use our limited resourses?
While we cannot immediately set up services for this population, the trip served as an important fact finding mission and will help us plan our future activities in the area.
It also made a nice change for the team, allowing us the chance to think outside of our current means, suggesting possible new interventions that could help the community rather than focussing on the daily running of our project. (Pictured above: Safari, Driver)
It is these trips that help MSF make well informed decisions about where we need to be and how to use our resources most efficiently.
Before long it was time to head back to the base with one extra passenger on board, tired but inspired by the days journey.