This may be a good time to stop, think and reflect. This past month has been a very difficult one for our project both on a personal and professional level. One of our dear colleagues passed away most unexpectedly after a heart attack. He worked as part of the team for the last ten years, and in the short time I worked closely with him it was clear he was unique: positive, funny, skilled, dedicated and experienced. We miss him and the epi team is reminded of what an asset he was everyday when our database experiences another hiccough.
Our project has an ambitious vision to provide comprehensive TB care for all in Karakalpakstan and as a result we are in transition. All at the same time we are handing over some of our operations to the Ministry of Health, changing our targeted population to include sensitive TB as well as drug resistant patients, changing our model of care to treat patients in ambulatory care from day 1, rather than in hospital and finally, planning our further expansion to new districts. It’s a lot of changes all at once- not surprisingly an air of confusion descended on our project this month!
The epi team’s current challenge is to implement the new data system. The epi dream team consists of 5 people. The fabulous Data Manager-Sholpan who has been here since the beginning and knows all the interesting and complex patients by number. Gaukhar- the very dedicated assistant data manager who collects the data from the clinics and without whom there would be no data. Azat- proving to be an excellent detective, collecting data in our new districts and figuring out the sensitive patient system. And Ulyana, the Lab Database manager who meticulously enters and reports the many, many laboratory results produced each month.
Here in Nukus, the process of winterisation has begun. The gas pressure has been increased, the vines have been buried in the ground to hibernate until next year, and the windows are being covered with plastic sheeting. Outside, during the day it is bright, sunny and crisp, while inside it is dark, hot and airless! I’m sure then when it finally reaches -30C I will understand why “winterisation” is needed!
I’m hoping for easier times to come, but I suspect this mission is going to be complex all the way through…