A letter from the field: Teddy Elongo

Greetings from the field!

I am writing all the way from Koutiala, a small town in the centre of Mail, where I work as a human resources (HR) manager. I’ve been working here since 26 January 2019, and I’ll be here for a year. Today, I would like to share my excitement with you! We’re finally moving into the new Paediatric Ward built by MSF funds, by our donors.

MSF Fieldworker - Teddy Elongo
MSF Fieldworker - Teddy Elongo. Copyright: Teddy Elongo

MSF first came to Koutiala in 2009 because of the high mortality rates in the district due to malaria and malnutrition. At the time those mortality rates were the highest rates in Western Africa. Today, MSF supports the district hospital and 37 other community clinics around Koutiala.

The previous hospital had a capacity problem. All in all, it had 65 beds, which proved insufficient last year when we experienced an increase in malaria cases during the summer months. The paediatric ward alone had up to 350 patients during this peak malaria period! Some including children were forced to sleep on the floor. MSF ended up erecting tents to support the capacity challenges at the hospital.

As an HR manager, I witness the dedication of our staff working in difficult conditions. This new hospital, which took a year and a half to build, provides them with the means to work in a better environment with enough space to care for our patients. It was a very special moment for me when I saw the last patient being moved into the new building.

MSF Paediatric Ward - Koutiala, Mali
A photo taken from inside the new MSF Paediatric Ward in Koutiala, Mali. Photo taken by Teddy Elongo

Back in South Africa, I have met MSF's face-to-face canvassers fundraising at shopping malls, working with donors to support the work that we do in places like Koutiala. For me as a fieldworker, I truly understand the impact of their donations through the people that we provide care to.

Together, we are all part of a team - a team that makes this work possible!

Teddy Elongo

Map: MSF Activities in Mali
MSF emergency response activities from May 2018 to June 2019 across Mali