Combating coronavirus: These visiting doctors are now volunteers in UAE

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Combating coronavirus, covid19, visiting doctors, volunteers, UAE

On March 30, Jayesh moved to the Al Warsan isolation facility and requested her sister-in-law to take care of her child.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Mon 11 May 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 May 2020, 8:26 AM

While thousands of visitors in the UAE rush to catch a flight back home, there are doctors who decided to stay on, serve the community, and devote their time and energy to take care of Covid-19 patients as volunteers. Saman Haziq writes
'A mother's sacrifice to heed the call of duty'
Parvathy Jayesh, 30, came to the UAE in January with her one-year-old daughter. She was visiting her husband in Dubai and planned to get a job in the country - but, instead, what she found was a "calling" for a bigger mission.
"While I was applying for jobs, the Covid pandemic began. Then, I heard from a community group called KMCC that they - along with the DHA - were setting up an isolation facility for Covid-19 positive patients and required volunteers," said Jayesh, who hails from the south Indian state of Kerala.
Though she knew it would be tough, she was ready for it. "Now was the time all my education and practice related to medicine needed to be put to test. This was my calling and I wanted to be part of this mission. I am lucky that my husband motivated me to go for it," she said.
On March 30, Jayesh moved to the Al Warsan isolation facility and requested her sister-in-law to take care of her child.
"That was the last time I breast-fed my daughter. I made this sacrifice because by being in this profession, social responsibility comes first," said the emotional mother.
"I cannot be selfish and close my eyes to such a huge crisis situation. I stand true to my profession and the oath I took when I became a doctor: My priority is to save lives," she said.
Parvathy has seen her daughter only twice in a month. She is now lodged in Al Warsan while her daughter is staying with her sister-in-law in Ajman.
'We are the soldiers this war needs'
For Dr Hamad Rashid, 29, being a doctor in the time of Covid is like being a soldier in a war.
"We, medical professionals, are the front foot soldiers and there is no way we can back out. This is the time when the world needs us the most, how can I back out and not offer my services?" said Dr Rashid who was supposed to fly to Lahore, Pakistan, in March.
"Since my expertise is in emergency medicine, I offered my services at the new Al Warsan facility and decided to move there so I can be available 24/7."
Born and raised in the UAE, Rashid moved to Pakistan to attend medical school and become a doctor. He would often visit his parents and sibling who are based in Dubai, and during his vacations, he would spend most of his time volunteering for medical camps or other initiatives organised by the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD).
This time, when Rashid was in Dubai on a three-month visit, the Covid-19 crises unfolded. He realised it was time to give back to the country he has called home all his life.
"I saw a request from the PAD requesting volunteers to assist the authorities in its fight against the pandemic. The message was just the push I needed. It read: 'Lets show solidarity with the country that has given so much to us'," he said.
Rashid - who has also been fasting during the holy month - has been at the facility since April 12. He is a duty doctor who does his rounds, checks on the Covid-positive patients, and ensures that they are physically and mentally doing well.
He said he will serve at the facility until the travel restrictions are lifted. Once the situation eases, he will go back to Lahore to resume his medical practice. 

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