Aamar Hospital

The word "HOSPITAL" carries an air of surrealism that you can touch, feel, smell and recall. It is a stratified socio-economic and cultural blend revolving in incomplete circles which you cannot forget even if you want to and would rather recall as another resurrection to life, yet the dream or reality remains forever black and white.

During the first half of the twentieth century, hospitals were becoming more than a concept, changing the purpose of their existence, from institutions for the practice of charity to places devoted to physical healing. This transformation of the hospital as a training ground for doctors owes a lot to the world wars and the French Revolution. They covered a huge ground in industrial countries, becoming large public institutions owned by the governments, mainly due to the scale of operation. In the course of time, to detect the changing diseases pattern in the society and for the sake of better health care, newer medical technology and increasing specialization of medical activity had to be adopted. But the questions of cost-sharing and quality of service were understated by various ideologies and bureaucracies, which also prevented its' universal access and availability.

Public health experts, health policymakers and economists for many decades have raised the issues of universal health care with equitable access, for disease prevention and addressing the unmet needs of the inaccessible population. 'AAMAR HOSPITAL' tries to frame those questions, arguments and contemplates the universal health care we talk about, dream about and expect about. From the social scientists, perspective, within the hierarchy of a society, the patients, most of who are from lower socio-economic strata, are at the lowest tier. They can be portrayed within a foreground of sufferings, sorrow and denial, and a horrifying grey background of ignorance, illiteracy and mass people fighting over limited resources.

Amidst the COVID 19 epidemic, the question of ensuring quality, equitable hospital health service and a balanced community health service has now been re-asked globally. A question that cannot be downplayed. A question we avoid while raging for wars and going for war parties, while our greatest enemies will still be the disease, discrimination and poverty.

During my work, Chittagong Medical College Hospital, a 1000 bedded tertiary public health care facility in Chittagong, Bangladesh, was serving thrice the load of patients of its capacity. A public hospital in my country still means a medical service almost free of costs, subsidized by the government health service budget. This, at the same time, implies bearing unreal patient burden many times its capacity, extensively and undeniably limiting the quality of hospital services. Yet against all odds, amazingly, at the day's end, this hospital has successfully served and cured many. However, many shocking stories show how medical practice takes shape in an understaffed, under-resourced and under-financed hospital of a developing country. Although the hospital could serve and restore the health of most patients, many were also left unhealed.

This is the hospital where I took my long learning path to become a healer. From my initial days of this long and lonely travel, it haunted me with the feelings of a lost patient and of those endless waiting hours of an attendant. Through a photographer's lens, I started realizing, however colourful you represent a hospital, deep inside, is a monochrome world from where you restart your search for a new life. I still remember the day, when I met a severely burnt worker from a ship breaking yard. His helpless wife and children, the whole family was staying by his bedside, against the hospital regulations, as they had no place to live or go. Yet many times, miracles happened in this hospital, as some great healers were struggling to save lives against all the odds, and the prayers continued in the nearest mosques and temples. And then, like a thrilling story, a long drama, a silent saga, the weak and the sick survive, return home with great joy and gratitude.

In those days, I could see the patients did have some rays of hope to return home, relieved from the abyss of pain. And they believed in God, they believed in doctors, they believed in this institution. At the time when I shot those frames, the hospital, nevertheless its limited settings and old technologies, carried many dedicated souls to work relentlessly round the clock to help the sick as much as possible. It was a teaching institute of young doctors and nurses too, all of whom shared the empathy and dedication for the hospital and its patients. Often everybody would together celebrate their pride and good moments.

Historically, too many hospitals are 'Total institution', 'Blessings of Science', while critics claim it to be 'Islands', exiled from the promised land; yet to me, it's my hospital. I owned it through my lens, my heart and my journey through the collective pain of being a hospital patient. I should conclude now quoting the great Jalal Uddin Rumi as he said, "The wound is the place where the light enters you."

The Stair CasesPOS II 285 01
ArrivalPOS II 285 02
Life in a Hospital POS II 285 03
The Long WaitPOS II 285 04
RestrainPOS II 285 05
Waiting LoungePOS II 285 06
Corona HeroesPOS II 285 07
The Horror of Operation Theatre POS II 285 08
ChainedPOS II 285 09
RestingPOS II 285 10
Saline or LifePOS II 285 11
Struggle POS II 285 12
Over Loaded WardPOS II 285 13
MotherPOS II 285 14
Unconscious- Yet ChainedPOS II 285 15
PhysiotherapyPOS II 285 16
Sleeping AngelPOS II 285 17
Covid Casualty POS II 285 18
TransferPOS II 285 19
Belief systemPOS II 285 20

Xposure hosts solo exhibition spaces for acclaimed photographers along with group exhibitions for professional institutions. All exhibiting photographers will be present during the festival, enabling you the opportunity to meet and talk to them about their work.