Posts tagged logistics

Photo by Stefan Dold/MSF
Under any circumstances, it’s not an easy task traveling along muddy rainforest tracks by motorbike and crossing swollen rivers by dugout canoe. Now imagine doing it while carrying a refrigerator. This is exactly what UK native and Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) project coordinator Will Turner and his team will be doing for the next month as they mount an expedition to test 40,000 people in remote villages of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for sleeping sickness.
The mission is taking them to the town of Bili, among other places, in the far north of the country. Bili sits in a heavily forested area between the river Uélé and the border with Central African Republic. The area is a global hotspot for sleeping sickness, a disease transmitted by the tsetse fly that is fatal if it’s not treated. Some 85 percent of all sleeping sickness cases are found in DRC, in fact. But the region is so difficult to reach that the problem has long gone ignored.
“We came to the district because it is in the most active focus of sleeping sickness in the world,” says Turner. “Yet this fatal disease is just not tackled here due to insecurity and the remoteness of the area.”
In early April 2013, MSF’s mobile sleeping sickness team installed a laboratory and treatment ward in Bili hospital and began testing local people for the disease. Once the entire population of the town has been tested, the team will turn its focus to about 50 other villages located deep in the surrounding rainforest. People diagnosed with the disease will be referred to the hospital in Bili.
“The team will be on the road for three to four weeks in a row,” says Turner. “Sometimes they will be on motorbikes to make their way along barely accessible paths through the forest. They will move to a new village every day and sleep in tents. By doing this, we expect to find and cure several hundred infected patients.”
Read more: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6797&cat=field-news

Photo by Stefan Dold/MSF

Under any circumstances, it’s not an easy task traveling along muddy rainforest tracks by motorbike and crossing swollen rivers by dugout canoe. Now imagine doing it while carrying a refrigerator. This is exactly what UK native and Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) project coordinator Will Turner and his team will be doing for the next month as they mount an expedition to test 40,000 people in remote villages of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for sleeping sickness.

The mission is taking them to the town of Bili, among other places, in the far north of the country. Bili sits in a heavily forested area between the river Uélé and the border with Central African Republic. The area is a global hotspot for sleeping sickness, a disease transmitted by the tsetse fly that is fatal if it’s not treated. Some 85 percent of all sleeping sickness cases are found in DRC, in fact. But the region is so difficult to reach that the problem has long gone ignored.

“We came to the district because it is in the most active focus of sleeping sickness in the world,” says Turner. “Yet this fatal disease is just not tackled here due to insecurity and the remoteness of the area.”

In early April 2013, MSF’s mobile sleeping sickness team installed a laboratory and treatment ward in Bili hospital and began testing local people for the disease. Once the entire population of the town has been tested, the team will turn its focus to about 50 other villages located deep in the surrounding rainforest. People diagnosed with the disease will be referred to the hospital in Bili.

“The team will be on the road for three to four weeks in a row,” says Turner. “Sometimes they will be on motorbikes to make their way along barely accessible paths through the forest. They will move to a new village every day and sleep in tents. By doing this, we expect to find and cure several hundred infected patients.”

Read more: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6797&cat=field-news

How MSF Works: Delivering Aid
MSF-Logistique is as a nonprofit humanitarian purchasing and distribution center. It is a licensed pharmaceutical institution, meaning we have permission from the French authorities to operate a business that deals with drugs. That’s why we have four pharmacists on staff. We are also licensed to hold materials in customs. All of our supplies are officially in transit because nothing in our warehouse is destined for use in Europe. With this status we avoid customs taxes, can store products for as long as needed, and can ship to the field right away, without worrying about clearing customs.

How MSF Works: Delivering Aid

MSF-Logistique is as a nonprofit humanitarian purchasing and distribution center. It is a licensed pharmaceutical institution, meaning we have permission from the French authorities to operate a business that deals with drugs. That’s why we have four pharmacists on staff. We are also licensed to hold materials in customs. All of our supplies are officially in transit because nothing in our warehouse is destined for use in Europe. With this status we avoid customs taxes, can store products for as long as needed, and can ship to the field right away, without worrying about clearing customs.

Thank You, LogisticsUS surgeon David Lauter’s final blog post from Central African Republic.
"Our transportation arrangements, including these last minute changes, are the responsibility of the MSF logistics crew. The ‘logs’ keep the entire project running, making sure that the hospital, clinics and the residential compounds have all our supplies, medications, transportation, food, fuel, water, electricity, etc….basically everything. Without the ‘logs’ and other non-medical personnel whose jobs include finance, HR, coordination with local and national governments and coordination with MSF headquarters, I wouldn’t have been able to do a single operation in Paoua this past month.
In the US, I show up everyday counting on finding a working hospital and OR. The same was true in Paoua. Keeping the generator running might not sound as exciting as doing surgery, but both are equally life-saving. The non-medical personnel deserve as much credit as anyone for the medical care provided here. Many people don’t realize how many non-medical people it takes to do what MSF does. Our log chief in Paoua, a 29-year-old American from Arizona, told me he had heard of MSF for a long time before ever applying with them, thinking that they only took on doctors and nurses. This is now his fourth mission with MSF.”
Please leave your questions and comments for David in the comments box below his blog post.

Thank You, Logistics
US surgeon David Lauter’s final blog post from Central African Republic.

"Our transportation arrangements, including these last minute changes, are the responsibility of the MSF logistics crew. The ‘logs’ keep the entire project running, making sure that the hospital, clinics and the residential compounds have all our supplies, medications, transportation, food, fuel, water, electricity, etc….basically everything. Without the ‘logs’ and other non-medical personnel whose jobs include finance, HR, coordination with local and national governments and coordination with MSF headquarters, I wouldn’t have been able to do a single operation in Paoua this past month.

In the US, I show up everyday counting on finding a working hospital and OR. The same was true in Paoua. Keeping the generator running might not sound as exciting as doing surgery, but both are equally life-saving. The non-medical personnel deserve as much credit as anyone for the medical care provided here. Many people don’t realize how many non-medical people it takes to do what MSF does. Our log chief in Paoua, a 29-year-old American from Arizona, told me he had heard of MSF for a long time before ever applying with them, thinking that they only took on doctors and nurses. This is now his fourth mission with MSF.”

Please leave your questions and comments for David in the comments box below his blog post.