Client Relationship volunteer Maguette recently met up with Combé Thiaw in Senegal. Her business entails buying medical supplies to sell to clinics and hospitals around Dakar. Here is an update about her:
Combé is ethnically Diolla, one of the well-known ethnic groups in Senegal. She is originally from the southern part of Senegal, called the Casamance. She is 32 years old. She is single and the mother of a 5-year-old boy who is in kindergarten. Combé works in the administrative section of the Chifa Clinic in Sacré Coeur 1 [a neighborhood in Dakar] where she works as a management assistant (issuing invoices, photocopying, etc). The clinic is relatively young and opened in 2010.
She sells medical equipment to medical offices, hospitals and other clinics. These supplies include IV drips, syringes, urine bags, probes, sutures, compresses, and more, pretty much everything that hospitals use. In this cold season, clinics are not very active. In fact, hospitals are busiest during the rainy season because malaria cases are prevalent.
She has a stock of two million products and has the advantage that the medical supplies are not perishable. She does not have time constraints regarding her clinic work because she is not under a contact. She is not paid a salary at the clinic because she works there just to help some old friends. She sells for orders 30 days after delivery, but in many cases, it is 60 to 90 days after delivery. This is because the clinics work with the IPM. Her main clients are: Blue Cross Clinic, Rady Clinic, Madeleine Clinic, and the Clinic of Mamelles. The supplier is Delta Medical. She regulates the cash of suppliers, and that is why the gaps in cash flow are often felt.
The loan from Zidisha has had a positive impact on Combé’s financial situation. It has indeed allowed her to better meet her daily expenses like paying rent, paying the housekeeper, transportation (taxi or public transportation), her son’s education and other small personal expenses. The monthly profit from her business is 400,000 to 500,000 CFA [about 800 to 1000 US dollars]. After having deducted her expenses from her earnings, she buys goods which she keeps in her apartment’s stockroom. Her house also has two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
Combé holds a license (Bac + 3) as an executive assistant. However, she has repeatedly refused a salary of more than 200,000 [working as an assistant] because according to her, her small business is more interesting than the salary of an executive assistant.
She hopes to continue her collaboration with Zidisha because she finds that the loans are very accessible. According to her, “Zidisha is exceptional”.