Fieldset
Pakistan: Finding perspective in Chaman

Sergio is a project coordinator from Italy, currently working with Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Pakistan. After six months of unplanned “remote management” from a base in Islamabad, in this blog he finally arrives at his project in the town of Chaman, on the border with Afghanistan.

After six months of remote management from Islamabad, I finally received my no-objection certificate – a government travel permit – and got to travel to Chaman.

Gladly the remote management part of my mission is over, and I can finally approve any document without having to print it, sign it, and scan it back to Chaman as before 

Perspective

I have already been in Chaman for a month. It has been an intense and full month, filled with activities, events and most of all, good stories from the patients’ wards.

All of the things that we usually take for granted in a usual working environment, for me, have now become a novelty after six months of remote management.  

For the most part, I am grateful to be able to put things into perspective and realise how hard it actually was to manage a project from afar.

I can finally be with the teams on the ground, conduct Skype-less meetings and do rounds in the wards and other hospital facilities. I can also conduct face-to-face meetings with local partners, authorities and the staff.

All of the things that we usually take for granted in a usual working environment, for me, have now become a novelty after six months of remote management.  

One hundred babies a week

During my first weeks in Chaman, I have been taking the time to get familiar with the staff and the locations.

The teams are doing incredible work, given the circumstances.

In the maternity unit, we have about 100 deliveries per week, of which 10 percent are complicated deliveries that need a caesarean section and further surgical care.

In the ER, our teams work relentlessly with trauma patients who have suffered injuries related to violence and car accidents. They are saving lives on a daily basis.

In our neonatal ward, every day we receive premature newborns and babies with complications that need immediate care. Our incubators and staff are kept busy. Based on the patients we receive, women have on average six to seven children. 

Adjusting

I am overall glad to finally be on the ground and spend time with the teams. However, my body and soul are still adjusting to the dry and semi-arid weather conditions – it takes a lot of drinking and moisturising. 

Now it is autumn, the nights are getting colder by the day and days are getting shorter. Still, the sun shines every day and witnessing clouds is a rare event in this part of the world.

I enjoy the cool weather, and I am looking forward to spending more time in Chaman to experience the upcoming winter when temperatures are expected to drop below zero and the occasional snow will fall.