UAE community feelings, care for elderly will help overcome COVID-19: Senior doctor

ABU DHABI: When he started working extra hours tirelessly to treat the coronavirus patients, a senior doctor derived energy from his fond memories of fascinating experiences during his initial days in the UAE.

“It was a new experience to see Emirati patients accompanied by one or more family members, a relative or a family friend who are more concerned about the well-being of the patients. Likewise, even many bachelors from some expatriate communities were escorted by a colleague or friend, revealing the same community spirit,” said Dr. Zia Danesh Jummani, Head of Emergency Department at Al Ain Hospital, which is under Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, SEHA.

“It was astonishing to experience the young Emiratis’ care for the elderly in their families. I was surprised to see that care homes for the elderly were not at all popular in this country as Emiratis take care of old people at their own homes very well,” Dr. Jummani, who has been living in the UAE for the past five years, told Emirates News Agency, WAM.

While dealing with the management at the hospital and the UAE officials, he found a “can-do attitude” to solve any problems or achieve any targets, “which was obviously created by this country’s leadership,” said the doctor who is a British citizen of Indian origin.

He said that community feelings, care for the elderly, and the positivity of the “can-do attitude” connected him more to this country during “the most challenging time for any medical professional across the world.”

“I feel confident and derive energy and enthusiasm to work hard from the fact that the same factors will help this country to come out of this tough time very soon,” added the doctor who worked in the UK for 14 years.

On the medical front, apart from a robust medical infrastructure, a well-planned strategy is in place with a human touch that motivates frontline medical workers, he said.

He added that the health workers on the frontlines are “taken care of well,” with sufficient supply of personal protective equipment, PPE, and safety protocols, which are “revised periodically to deal with the changing situations.”

“Top officials are always accessible to us; they hear our suggestions and inputs, often implement them immediately if they are convinced. I have never seen such an open system in my career in the past,” the doctor who has 24 years of experience, including six years in India, added. “All our staff have been working continuously since March, with all leaves cancelled and hours extended.”

He praised how the community had smoothly followed the movement restrictions imposed by the government during the National Disinfection Programme.

“This proves their unity and commitment towards the larger interest of the nation. It will help overcome any challenge, including the current pandemic,” he said.

Talking about the elderly Emirati population, he said they are “fortunate and privileged” segment of the society thanks to the prevailing culture that guarantees care and respect to them.

That could be one reason for exemplary good health of many Emiratis in their 80s and 90s, Dr. Jummani added. “I have seen many of them walk around smoothly; they look very strong.”

Another reason could be their lifestyle in the past. Many of them were farmers and had endured hard weather in desert environment in their early life.

“This country offers many experiences, including colourful cultural elements. All those things further bind me to this land,” the doctor concluded.

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