This is Why We Do This Work

I used the title phrase because this is what my co-fellow kept saying when we both got sick and were moved between two hospitals for treatment. After reflecting on my experiences, I believe this now too. To have an impact and fully realize why you are in the global health equity movement, it takes some tough personal experiences sometimes to help one gain that constant drive towards social justice and health service equality in all communities of the world.

A few months ago, in wee hours of the night – I witnessed my cousin lose her new born baby due to suffocation in her womb at a small public hospital under simple circumstances that could have been prevented. I was about to lose her too from accumulated air in her stomach if not for the arrival of a second nurse, just in time.

A few months later I found myself very sick and was taken to another small public hospital with other friends. It took close to 40 minutes before any examination and one and a half hours to receive medication. Later, because we were lucky enough to have a special kind of emergency, we were transferred to a “modern” larger hospital. Within 40 minutes, we had a doctor attending to us, samples taken and treatment started with a round of 5 experts checking my status from time to time.

I asked myself these questions:
What’s the difference between this hospital and the other public hospital?
What if I did not have the privilege or luck or enough resources to afford treatment at this better hospital?
What if there was just one nurse in this hospital to attend to all other patients, like my cousin experienced?
What if there was just not enough manpower to save some lives that day?
What would it take to have just one more extra nurse available to assist a night doctor with the most complicated situations?
How many people arrive with emergency conditions that could be healed but lose their lives because there is not enough manpower for specialized procedures like surgery (for which there is usually only one trained nurse or doctor present)?
Why is there such a lack of equipment and drugs to attend to such emergencies?

There are so many more but these questions drive me to work towards solving problems in the health sector. As drivers of the global health equity movement, we may be able to answer many of these questions. We strive to strengthen these public hospitals, especially in the most vulnerable communities, and help them gain the same standards of care that “modern” larger hospitals achieve. Then we will be able to save more lives and achieve more social justice and health equity in all communities of the world. Well, isn’t this is why we do this work? – to bring about health service equality in all communities for global health equity and justice! Sometimes it requires one to go through a particularly tough experience to realize what they are driving toward and become motivated to energetically work toward it….