Student reflects on SIUT and its healthcare for all

Amina Khan, Executive Design Editor

Photo courtesy of SIUT
Amina Khan serves as a volunteer for SIUT.

“Mama, am I going to die today?” asked {Gulbano}.

Already wrinkled with sunburn and gaunt with fatigue at the age of eleven, she had been on dialysis for over a year and needed to relocate from Punjab to the urban city of Karachi, having only her mother with her. {Gulbano} was a patient at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, where I was volunteering and spending time talking with many others like her. SIUT is a donation-run hospital that provides quality healthcare without discrimination, and I share its belief that all patients deserve health services that are dignified, of the highest caliber, and provided free of cost.

It was an eye-opening experience at SIUT, earning a leadership position as the senior volunteer. There is so much poverty in Pakistan, exacerbated by corruption and a meager national healthcare budget. However, I know that I made a difference, being the only American in that volunteer programme to participate. I was able to meet and care for dialysis patients, attend lectures, and have medical training sessions.

Many modern Americans are concerned about careers, prestige, or finding leisure time, but when I asked {Gulbano} what she wanted most, all she wanted was a healthy kidney. So many of us are more privileged than we realize, yet it’s not beyond our ability to reach out and help those less fortunate. We need only make the effort to learn about the world around us and address the suffering within it with compassion and respect.

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*For privacy reasons, the name was changed in the original article.