The most explicit memory of my early childhood days is of visiting India. I remember the days spent staying at my grandparent's house, a small weathered bungalow covered with vines of the kudzu plant that extended from the metal chimney to the creaked, concrete grounds. I reminiscence about the warm summer evenings spent playing with the "neighborhood" kids, twirling around till we felt dizzy, and coming back home only to be greeted by the aroma of my grandma's famous chicken curry. My time in India amidst banana craving monkeys originating from the depths of a tropical forest and content cows wandering the busy streets with great pleasure was an enjoyable experience that I will never forget. As I recollect these beautiful memories I've created, I also look back on certain events that always brought me a feeling of uneasiness. Some of these events took place in the town's local hospital.
As I played with the "neighborhood" children that lived near my grandparents' house, I came to realize that they all came from different subdivisions. Many came from the enormous apartment complex a few blocks away while others lived in bungalows across the road similar to my grandparents' house. However, one of the girls was different; she lived in a small, weathered-down cottage a couple of miles down the road with her two parents. Her parents worked consistently, bringing home around 4 dollars a day which was barely enough for them to pay for their meals. She was indeed less fortunate than any of the other children. One day when her parents went to work, the girl fell sick with a fever and was admitted to the hospital. In addition to her parents unable to pay for her treatments, the hospital had her on hold till further expenses became covered. Thankfully, a friend of her fathers was able to pay for the bills and give my friend the medication she needed. My family and I later found out that the hospital rejected everyone who could not afford being hospitalized; the hospital's "simple" solution to the overflow of people.
Like any other country, healthcare in India is expensive and unaffordable by a majority of its population. With India's rapidly growing population and poor living conditions, many hospitals are underequipped with an insufficient supply of medication and understaffed with a small number of doctors and nurses, preventing healthcare to be readily accessible for the population's high demand. Furthermore, many underprivileged families, a lot like my friend's family, are treated poorly by hospitals that focus solemnly on the money aspect of it; these hardworking individuals do not deserve to be disrespected by public health services.
The next time I visit India, I hope to not only create unforgettable memories with my grandma as we cook her spectacular chicken curry together, but also make an everlasting, positive impact on the local hospitals all around the country.