A Pakistani organisation in Dubai has helped hundreds of deserving and needy patients by offering free medical care.
The Pakistan Medical Centre opened in October 2020 and nearly 2,500 patients have visited for treatment.
The majority received free help, while others were given a discount, said Dr Nasim Sabir, the centre’s medical director.
The Dh20 million non-profit healthcare centre is overseen by the Pakistan Association Dubai and is open to all nationalities and ages.
Shagufta Nasreen, 39, a single mother in Dubai, sought help from the facility for her 14-year-old son who suffers from type 1 diabetes.
Her son, Ghazi, received free examinations, medicines and insulin, which is delivered to his home regularly by the centre.
“It was really difficult to afford all of this on my own,” said Ms Nasreen, who earns about Dh700 per month through a small food catering business that she runs from her home.
“The cost of all of the tests, medicines and insulin was coming to thousands of dirhams. I don’t even earn Dh1,000 per month; how would we afford to cover those costs? We’re very thankful to the Pakistan Medical Centre for helping us.”
Nighat Farooqi, 65, is another Dubai resident who struggled to pay for her treatment and approached the centre.
Suffering from osteoarthritis and thyroid problems, Ms Farooqi underwent several check-ups, tests and was given medicines, including an injection she has to take every six months.
“I have unbearable pain because of the osteoarthritis. It causes so much pain in my bones and muscles, it’s difficult to move,” she said.
Ms Farooqi is a widow who had moved to the UAE with her late husband 40 years ago.
She worked as a teacher for several decades, before retiring. Her daughter supported her, but she lost her job in the aviation sector less than a year ago.
“We manage to arrange money for food somehow, but the rest is incredibly difficult,” Ms Farooqi said.
The centre is financed by members of the community and receives support from the Community Development Authority in Dubai.
It has partnered with private hospitals, such as Mediclinic Middle East and American Hospital, to offer help to residents.
“Pakistan Medical Centre is a multi-speciality polyclinic offering multiple services like paediatrics, dental, women’s health, cardiology, orthopaedics, physiotherapy, amongst many others,” Dr Sabi said .
“We also educate our patients and advise them on managing their lifestyle and preventing disease.”
The centre treats patients with acute and chronic medical problems and provides referrals to those who need further treatment.
“Patients who are unable to afford are given free treatment and there is no discrimination,” said Dr Sabir, who is a pathologist and a microbiologist.
“We have a very transparent welfare process and a welfare officer is on our premises at all times who evaluates the patient’s financial status and provides support to them.
“The decisions are made solely on humanitarian grounds and we ensure no deserving patient is turned away. The project is a model of tolerance from the Pakistani community and is in line with the vision of the UAE Government of tolerance and inclusion.”
The centre is located in Oud Mehta and can be contacted via telephone on 04 337 3632.
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