Healing Moments.

Most of us have grown up believing that private hospitals are for families like ours – who can afford to pay, and government healthcare systems are for the poor and destitute where all the treatments are free. Naturally, I too, like you, imagined these to be neglected, unclean, unsanitary and basically run with our tax money, aided by medics and staff who didn’t get better opportunities to be someplace else. Shallow thinking, I know!

Hospitals are about healing ! – Irwin Redlener

I was talking to an old friend in Canada a few months ago. I noticed that he thought differently now. He was already feeling sorry that he couldn’t fly down to India to take care of his parents when they were both covid-ridden and needed him. They were old and this novel corona infection had them rather worried. With local help, they managed to get admitted into the Covid Care Center offering 100% free treatment.

Their fears were totally unfounded. They were looked after so well, that they claimed it to be their best patient experience. It was a well-managed AC facility, sterile, offering latest covid treatment, guided by kind and responsive doctors and staff to make them feel better... and the food was good too. (vegetarian, but good). They felt safe and cared for. Funnily enough, those who live to eat (esp. non-veg food), and are quite the creatures of habit, such patients actually fled the facility!

Now, it’s not like one can say, “is-that-so? I’ll try it too”. But, some things just stay on your mind.

As you know, covid-19 vaccines have started to roll out in India. There’s a storm brewing as it happens, leaving the populations divided on whether – “to be or not to be (vaccinated)”. That is the question. Some people are adamant that they won’t take the jab. These views are further fueled by whatsapp-forwards carrying ill-conceived material and evidence. But, some others like me can’t wait to protect ourselves from this super-mutating virus. Last week, I registered online for my first covid-vaccine shot. This time I chose a government hospital over a private one, and got ready for my new experience.

I deem it the duty of every man to devote a certain portion of his income for charitable purposes; and that it is his further duty to see it so applied; to do the most good of which it is capable.” – Thomas Jefferson

Needless to say, the venue wasn’t crowded and the jab process was simple as it was swift. There was separate entry gate for all the beneficiaries. Online registration was a must. Those who weren’t tech-savvy and required assistance with online registering, were given help. There was police security for additional guidance and control. Social distancing norms were observed, proper seating arrangements, upholding hygiene and safety standards, use of technology for paperless records... everything was administered in a competent and successful manner. The expertise and deftness with which the doctors and the staff handled the process was commendable. Afterall, India runs one of the largest immunization programs in the world, catering to the vaccination needs of more than 55 million newborns and pregnant women. So, there was never a doubt that the covid program mechanism is geared up to effectively cater to the country’s large and diverse population.

As for us, we were all different people, from different backgrounds, different streets, different levels of education & experience, different interests and differing views – and yet, we were bound by one common thread, we were all upright citizens volunteering to take the covid shot. This factor brought us on par with each other.

That experience was worth it.

If you wish to register for COVID vaccination, please use this link:

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Smita Chaudhari

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