Healthcare workers worldwide are at the forefront of the global battle against Coronavirus.
From doctors and nurses to paramedics or cleaning staff, everyone is making an important contribution, by working late and risking their own health to help ensure the best care to patients and curb the diffusion of the virus.
Thanks to the work of UAE hospitals and clinics, as well as the Government measures to flatten the contagion curve, the Emirates have now been able to ease the lockdown and partially reopen activities.
To celebrate the sacrifice of UAE’s healthcare workers, we are reporting some of their stories collected by Gulf News, as well as the many initiatives supported by the Government and businesses to express their gratitude
Nandkishore Nakka, Paramedic
Nandkishore Nakka, originally from India, works as a paramedic for Medeor Hospital and Dubai Health Authority. During the Coronavirus outbreak he was assigned 12-hour shifts four days a week, but he often ended up working much more than that.
Picking up patients with the ambulance, Nandkishore has to wear heavy personal protection equipment like a face shield and four layers of gloves, without touching any surface after having touched a patient with gloves.
The paramedic decided not to inform his family about his job as they would panic.
Dr. Gwynne Howell, Medical Officer
British national Dr. Gwynne Howell is in charge of King’s College Hospital London’s Dubai Covid-19 Isolation Facility, managing the isolation unit based on an undisclosed hotel in Dubai.
Howell moved to the UAE only 16 months ago, having no clue of the role he would play in the Country’s response to the virus.
The Doctor described to Gulf News the organization of the facility: “We have color-coded zones in red for high risk and green for those who are not so high. Most of these are asymptomatic patients who have tested positive and are sent here from our Dubai Hills hospital. We treat them, administer medicines, and conduct tests after 14 days. If we get two consecutive tests negative, they are sent home for yet another 14-day home quarantine”.
All of the doctors in the facility are working restlessly to guarantee the well-being of patients. Dr. Howell himself has been working 150 hours a week. However, the effort is well repaid, as Howell describes the smiles of patients who test negative as “priceless”.
Swapna Devassykutty, Nurse
Swapna Devassykutty works as a nurse in Prime Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. She assists many patients who are intubated and supported by external ventilators, requiring 24-hour care.
Swapna provides food, water, or sometimes just a kind face to ICU patients while wearing a PPE suit and working twelve to fourteen hours.
After leaving the hospital, she comes home to her three kids, but she can’t hug and greet them: “I cannot hug my child and hold her as I keep to social distancing at home”. This did not stop her, and when the pandemic broke, she decided to continue her 15-year long work in the ICU to be there for her patients.
On March 24, 2020, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai tweeted his official appreciation for the dedication of healthcare workers during the pandemic.
Private companies also took concrete steps to support the effort of these extraordinary workers:
JA Resorts & Hotels offered a complimentary 1-night stay in one of their venues for up to 1000 healthcare workers.
During the lockdown, Langpros offered Free remote interpreting services to hospitals and clinics operating against COVID-19 in the UAE.
Now, our professional interpreters and translators are ready to assist companies and individuals by providing a vast array of language services aimed at supporting the community and developing fruitful international dialogue.