PSF Canada collaborated with PSF International Committee on a mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo between March 2003 and December 2003. Situation of the country; Mobutu destroyed the health system during his long reign. Therefore, the supply of quality drugs was almost inexistent. Health facilities were selling products of poor quality, from Asian countries, without having undergone any quality control.
Purpose and role of the mission
PSF-CI established a supply system of quality medicines. We had a main distribution center, based in Kinshasa, to provide the central regions. I was expert adviser to the European Union for the distribution Centre of Mbuji Mayi, in Kasai Oriental. My job was primarily to supervise the work of employees of the Centre, organize training for employees of the various health facilities, talk with leaders of health facilities to promote our products and meet representatives of the Ministry of Health.
It was difficult to break into the market already in place. We did not give our products. According to the Bamako Initiative, we sell at the cheapest possible prices so that the Centre pays for itself after we leave. Our products were very expensive with those sold in the public market, but the challenge was there. People saw the efficacy of our products and increasingly buying from our Centre.
At the personal level
Quite a culture shock. Wizards still had some influence with the population. These magic moments when we arrived in a remote village where the last presence of a white dated back to ten years. White sorcerer terrified and intrigued children. I learned to manage people with a completely different mindset. I gained confidence in myself and learned to get by with little.
Simon Caron, Pharmacist