The logistician is a little-known figure in the field of international cooperation: he is behind the scenes, yet he puts everyone else – doctors, nurses, midwives, drivers – enabled to operate, in the best possible way in a given context. “It’s logical” we say when an intervention is coherent and well organized. This is the task of the logistician: to make the interventions well organized and working. With infinite differences, depending on the different contexts.
“Being a logistician for a hospital and, in my case, for the Bangui children’s hospital, means not only following the entire supply chain of medicines and medical supplies that goes from purchase to delivery, making sure it arrives in time and quantity pre-established, but also take care of all the necessary equipment, from the maintenance of the hospital to the stationery, in addition to being always operational for any malfunctions or repairs. Being a logistician means taking care of everything that is supporting the project,” explains Andrea Martino, who recently returned from Bangui after 14 months of service.
Central African Republic is a difficult and unstable country from all points of view: a reality with which you have to deal especially if your task is to ensure a constant supply of medical material in a time of pandemic and in the midst of a difficult electoral period.
“When the pandemic broke out around the world in March 2020, we felt a strong impact in RCA too, not so much in terms of cases – very few were officially registered in the country – but because of the blockages and slowdowns in the arrival of the material. Priority was given to all the protective material from Covid-19 but here in the hospital we continued to need even the usual medicines and materials that no longer arrived – says Andrea -. During the election period the blockade was even worse because it was total. Because of the guerrillas that exploded all over the country, the borders were closed and all the drivers who arrived from Cameroon with the most diverse materials were stuck at the border fearing to cross the country. More than 1000 blocked containers; food also started to decrease while increasing in price”.
Being a logistician is a daily challenge, you have the opportunity to live the hospital but you also live its backstory and the “behind the scenes” who allow to set in motion this huge and complex care machine. “If I have to think of an image of myself in Central Africa I think of when I entered the pharmacy greeting all the staff with a “Bonjours pharmacy”. I think it is a representative image of the close link between pharmacy and logistics, which does not always happen but that was definitely a strong element of this mission – remembers Andrea, about to leave for Central Africa, this time for a short mission-. This experience, the third in logistics and the second in Africa, certainly had a positive balance and gave confirmation to my intention to keep working in cooperation and in particular in the field of logistics.”
A role with a thousand facets that of the logistician: so to speak “technician of the lights, of the sound and curator of the preparation” of the great daily challenge of the health of mothers and children.