Hospitals have always intrigued me.
I remember, as a child, being captivated by the massiveness and grandeur of the hospitals that I saw through taxi windows in Istanbul. I experienced hospitals through the eyes of a patient as a teen, so I have also felt their unique power to evoke fear. As a family member of a hospital patient later on, I became frustrated with the various doors and curtains that separated the world of the knowing from my world of the waiting. Serving as a volunteer and working as a barista in a local hospital all throughout high school, hospitals transformed into a sacred space for me, guiding patients from sickness to health. Sometimes. If they could pay.
Sir Thomas Browne wrote in 1643, “the world…is not an inn, but a hospital” – a pretty surprising and discouraging statement from the acclaimed author of Religio Medici. Or as Amartya Sen has so wisely put it, an optimistic thought considering that many people who are most ill in the world today get no treatment, nor any access to effective means of prevention.
For a long time, I’ve known my future would somehow or another involve…hospitals. I am so interested in this idea of humans harnessing the sciences and putting them to use to fix each other biologically, and helping each other sustainably. At UNC, I have dedicated the past three years to learning and discovering the different ways this can really be done. No surprise – I’ve found that multi-layered and diverse problems can only be addressed with multi-layered and diverse solutions.
From what I know, Friendship operates under this very premise in Bangladesh, approaching health equity not with the view of “health” in isolation, but with all of the social and economic embeddedness that comes with it. For details, take a look at the “Friendship Info” tab above, and/or watch the video below (focuses on reconstructive surgeries at Friendship but gives a solid overview of the organization and where it operates).
I am incredibly excited to start my internship with Friendship! Though my role will undoubtedly change and evolve, I’ll be evaluating Friendship’s current community-based healthcare services in the areas of family planning and reproductive health, in addition to looking at health-care seeking behavior in the chars. I will get to see Friendship in action – observing the satellite clinics and experiencing the work of the hospital boats first-hand.
I know I have an exciting journey ahead of me – one filled with copious amounts of learning, growth, adventures, new faces and stories, and even more learning. Six days to go!