In sum, Kiratu’s body was a gory mash. He was deader than a dodo. But Juma Mtono, Kiratu’s companion, was not so unfortunate. Those who happened to be around when the mishap took place said Mtono was as lucky as a girl with big tits. To this day, I have not known why a girl with big tits is considered lucky.
Still, Mtono was lucky as such a girl because the car that killed his companion Kiratu outright on the spot merely grazed him, but still with enough force that sent him rolling and leaving him unconscious. Mtono was rushed to a nearby Hindu Mandal Hospital in the city of Dar es Salaam where the two had met their misfortune. The attendance he received was immediate, meticulous and professional.
That indeed is where our story begins for it was the place where Reporter at Large met our hypothetical and unfortunate yet so fortunate, young man, Mtono, whose story ends there as well and that of Shree Hindu Mandal Hospital begins. The charitable medical entity was flocking with patients at the time. The four girls at the reception were besieged by people wanting to open a file or draw one they previously opened before seeing a doctor.
One of the girls, Asma looked tired already even though it was just 11 am in the morning. “I have not had my breakfast. In fact none of us here has,” she explains to Reporter at Large. “We do not think we will have breakfast today, given the number of patients there are.” Her colleagues, like she, were as busy as bees. It was an impressive sight, considering the sloth people are attended with at some other places of work in the country.
At another window, where patients went to retrieve their file, was a disorderly crowd. There was no line and every one of them, stuck their hand to the attendants on the other side of the window, striving to win their attention. At another window for patients who pay in cash for the services, a woman suddenly shouted at one of the attendant. “What do you mean ‘sit and wait!” said the woman, heavy with child.
“Have you ever been in my state to know how standing this long hurts? I have seen you more than once, but every time you tell me to wait, saying I’ll be attended, who will attend to me?” Her shouts rocked the place and everybody looked in her direction. She was holding her waist and apparently not in a good state to stand for a long time. A nurse tried to subdue her, reassuring her that she was going to be listened to in good time.
Then the woman began to sway dangerously. Her blood pressure had gone up, another female patient who was standing next to her and probably knew her, said. The two nurses walked the woman to a seat and lowered her down gently. It was obvious she was in a worse state now.
Her chest heaved with heavy breathing. One of the nurses walked away with her papers and soon returned to take her to the doctor. It was all done so fast and immediately, peace returned to the whole place. “All this will soon end,” Manesh Mehta, the hospital’s Administrative officer, says as he points to a group of patients jostling at the window to get their file. “We are expanding the hospital and soon we will design this place in a way that all and every patient going to the window for a file will be in a line.”
Founded in 1953 at Chusi Street in the city, the 65-bed Shree Hindu Mandal Hospital has expanded significantly. Asma says there are so many patients in a day that taking a minute off from the counter for whatever reason makes them feel embarrassed because “all the time there are patients standing there, waiting to be attended to.”
With one of its doctors, Dr Ramaiya Kaushik, as the country’s leading diabetic expert, who handles HIV/AIDS cases as well, Shree Hindu Mandal is expanding rapidly and has obviously become a nation’s crucial medical rib. One of their reports says that three years ago the hospital attended approximately 350 HIV/AIDS patients. Today it has 1,500 such patients.
Most notable are the services it renders to the patients. Some speak for the hospital’s good service. One Mama Khadija says the service she was getting at the health facility was better than any she had received anywhere in the country. “The staff are polite and attentive.
They care,” she told Reporter at Large. But the volume of work is large and growing. Shree Hindu Mandal is just trying to cope. So far, the staffs are coping well, in fact splendidly. Soon, with Dr Kaushik’s drive, it will become ‘Centre of Excellence,’ Everybody, who knows we all come to the doctor sooner or later, can only say: “Good luck.”