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Meet Tina Patel — Regional Supply Chain Specialist, Ascend Lot 1 /

What drew you to this role? 

I have grown into a supply chain specialist through my various previous employments with humanitarian organisations such as Pharmaciens sans Frontiers, Medecin sans Frontiers and the Global Fund for HIV/TB/Malaria.  

Having been in the humanitarian field for a very long time, the offer to work on neglected tropical diseases was just the perfect step to take for expanding on the humanitarian work. This project is rather unique in its donation of medicines to the poorest communities so it was like a privilege to be able to serve them through the supply chain work on this project. 

Can you share an example of some of the bigger achievements you’ve had this past year? 

We have held several webinars across all the ASCEND Lot 1 countries whereby we have engaged central medical stores with the NTD program staff to enhance the knowledge of NTD donations for better storage handling and management of the supplies. The webinars were successfully attended by all countries. 

A medicine donation of Ivermectin in Mozambique has been suspended due to a very high import application fee which is now being escalated to the higher levels for resolution. Although it is not yet resolved I feel that our efforts for ongoing discussions to have such fees waived for all donations into Mozambique will attribute to the greater good of all patients requiring donated medicines which their government cannot procure and provide to them. 

Do you work in a team, country, role of field that is predominantly male? If so, how have you overcome any challenges relating to this?  

Yes, my core team members are male but they are wonderful to work with and I believe when there is mutual respect and appreciation there are no challenges. 

What challenge are you working to overcome through your role and work with Ascend and how?  

This is my first full time position after having consulted for nearly 15 years, so the hardest challenge in the beginning was time management, but with support from my team I managed to get organised.  

I truly appreciate my team at Ascend, highly experienced and supportive in every way has improved my professional and home environment. 

What do you enjoy about being a professionalworking woman? 

Being independent and able to choose who to work with, as well as how to balance my personal life with my professional life gives me total control over my life and am really grateful to have had this opportunity.