Last blog from Bangladesh ??
This may well be the last blog from Bangladesh. Sorry that there has been no news for a while. We have just come to the end of the high season. We were treating well over 1000 patients a week. Sometimes each doctor will have more than 100 consultations a day. This clearly is not ideal, and is only achievable by putting in some long days. I take my hat off to the clinic staff for dealing so well. Now that the situation has calmed down a little, staff are taking a little leave, and settling into a more “normal” routine. I have been getting ready for handing over. My replacement is in the country, and we will collecting her soon. I did not get much of a handover, as there was no expat Log to pass on the information. I hope to make Megan’s entrance to the job a little smoother than mine. There has been a lot to prepare. It has been announced that we will wind down our operation in Khagrachari. The timeframe is not yet fixed, but still means that there will be a shift in the way that things are given priority. We will not be expanding our work with therapeutic feeding, HIV, TB or any of the other possibilities that have been discussed. We are trying hard to find another actor in the region to take on the clinics, rather than close them. The health system here is woeful, and it is a hard decision to pull out. It is the right decision though. There are now many more NGOs than 2 – 3 years ago. It is hoped that they can continue the work that MSF started. MSF works in emergency situations, this is their strength. We have more than 50 expats, and a lot more national staff, in Lebanon, already. The work in Khagrachari is now a more developmental role. Other actors are better suited to this job. The medical need here is still great, but the presence of MSF, or another NGO, taking care of these needs, allows the government health system to leave it to us. Sometimes, we can improve the situation by leaving, and sparking a little life onto the existing setup. I so hope that it works.
No matter how bad things are here, they pale when I hear from colleagues around the World. My friends, Arnold & Akke are in Africa. The messages I receive from them, and others, can be mind-blowing. It can be depressing to think that human beings can behave like this. What can we do? We have to let one group try to find a solution to the problem, while others mop up the mess. The scale of suffering is beyond me to describe. I am only seeing a tiny sample, but it stuns me. I will not use this medium to retell stories from other people, they can be found on many websites.
I really wish the best for Bangladesh. There is no future though, unless the country can get rid of the greedy and selfish minority that sucks all the potential from the place. I may get into some trouble for expressing these views, this is not the official view of MSF, just me. I did add some other opinions here, but just deleted them. I think that my views are sometimes a little less than diplomatic.
I take this opportunity to wish all the good people, in all the organisations, who are helping around the World. Keep it going!! Without someone caring, there is little hope for the millions who rely on this aid. I know that we are only applying a dressing to a huge wound, but it is a dressing that is saving thousands of lives every day.