At least not in the middle east.
For there’s every chance that you may end up not getting treated at all.
Why? Because, Friday being a weekend while you may still find coffee-shops and grocery stores open at the weest of hours here, and even petrol stations that are open 24/7 but NOT a clinic or a pharmacy. No way.
I realized that only today, when Namnam suddenly developed an ear pain and started bawling uncontrollably. The pain was so unbearable that no hot-pack treatment or ear-drops were soothing enough for her. So the next obvious step was to take her to a clinic. I tried to call the clinic to check if the doctor was in but there was no response. Thinking the phones may be out of order we decided to head straight to the clinic anyway, only to reach there and find it closed!
It was annoying to say the least to find a fairly reputed and recently upgraded clinic closed on a weekend. I mean arent health care providers supposed to serve the people through the day? What if there had been an emergency? With the phone lines off, how do they expect to be of any help to those in need of health care? Of what use is the state of the art facilities and stylishly updated websites when the patients cant access the clinic for their basic health care at any point of time?
Anyway we found out that the clinic was to open at 4PM. It was 330 already. But since Namnam’s pain wasnt subsiding we decided to go to another clinic a couple of minutes drive away. This time too I tried to call the clinic hoping against hope to get my call answered and an appointment fixed. But to no avail. Here at least the clinic was wee bit better off than the previous one…this one at least had a voice-mail activated informing its callers that it was closed during the day and was to open at 4PM! WOW, what a service!
As a last resort we were left with either going to a pharmacy and buy an over the counter medicine to relieve the pain or go to the government-run emergency ward and get her admitted.
Now since Namnam’s condition was not so serious that it called for an emergency admission yet not so slight that it could be neglected we thought of going to a pharmacy.
As expected the pharmacy that we came across first while on our way had its shutter down! Thankfully a few blocks further down the road there was one store which was open and we got Namnam the required medicine. She gulped it down while in the car, without a whimper.
The pharmacist adviced us to wait for 2 hours within which time the pain would subside. If it didnt then we were to go to the emergency.
The pain subsided after one hour and Namnam was back to her active self.
However this whole experience left a very disturbing mark in my mind with respect to the health care system here. I am still wondering about the purpose of such healthcare facilities in the first place when they cant ensure the basic service to people!