20 Oct Staff Spotlight: Tolojanahary Andoniaina Tojoharimanda
Tolojanahary Andoniaina Tojoharimanda, known among colleagues as “Tojo,” started at PIVOT at the end of its first year of work in 2014. When Tojo began, he joined PIVOT’s pharmacy team to support the oversight of the health facilities’ drug inventory. The challenges were significant – ensuring adequate stockage of essential medicines is not as simple as it sounds, especially when working in a weakened health system with a supply chain in need of repair.
In his first year, Tojo implemented inventory management tools to help prevent stock-outs at the health center and hospital levels. His combination of aptitude and dedication to improve PIVOT’s systems quickly elevated him to the role of Pharmacy Supervisor.
This year, Tojo was promoted to Warehouse Manager, overseeing the stock of all PIVOT materials, be it drugs, electronics, consumables, or automotive equipment. People often underestimate the complexity and importance of this responsibility. In the setting of rural Madagascar, goods and materials aren’t always quickly accessed. Tojo and his team serve the needs of all other PIVOT teams and, sometimes, the availability of a particular item can mean the difference between life and death. This is why ensuring strong systems such as supply chain is considered a central component of PIVOT’s work to improve the health system as a whole.
“With the multitude of materials we have to keep track of,” Tojo says, “making sure the materials requested are available on time is my biggest challenge.”
During his four years with PIVOT, Tojo says his favorite part of his work has been the implementation of standards in stock management. Compared with the beginning of his time with PIVOT, when the rate of availability of essential medicines was as low as 30% at some health facilities, today the same goods have a 90% availability rate across PIVOT-supported health centers. He has also led the sustainable computerization of inventory data at four health centers, which was previously managed on paper.
Tojo describes himself as serious and goal-oriented, so enjoys the fact that, today, he can be confident that his team will be able to meet the demands of clinicians and patients in a timely fashion.
“I always wanted to work in the world of healthcare,” he says when asked what it was that specifically drew him to work for PIVOT, “because health helps people and gives them dignity.” That, and the fact that PIVOT focuses on seeing patients through the continuum of care. Tojo says he is inspired by PIVOT’s commitment to use whatever means necessary to ensure the best care for their patients – starting in their home communities, accompanying them to the highest necessary level of care, and following each until the they are healthy again.
“Dedicated employees like Tojo – who have been with us since the beginning and remain with us as the growth and complexity of the organization make for an ever-evolving job – give me certainty that our goals in Ifanadiana are achievable,” says PIVOT’s Executive Director, Tara Loyd. “Without Tojo and similarly committed colleagues working day-in and day-out for our patients, we could never have become the organization we are today.”
With a Masters in Pharmacology from the University of Antananarivo, Tojo intends to eventually return to school to pursue his PhD in the same field. He has a deep interest in research, and hopes to increase his own capacity to contribute to humanitarian work through through his studies.
Outside of work and pharmacology, Tojo enjoys playing soccer, swimming, and singing – he enjoys serving as leader of his church’s choir – and is looking forward to getting married at the beginning of November.
Tojo says that his hope for the future of PIVOT is that it will achieves its goal of transforming Ifanadiana into a model health system for the country of Madagascar. Strengthening systems is central to PIVOT’s approach to realizing this vision, and Tojo has been dedicated to that piece of our work since the beginning. Collectively, we are grateful to have a colleague as humbly committed to contributing to that mission as Tojo.