Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus: 37 Indian nurses choose to stay in UAE after battling Covid-19

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on August 7, 2020 | Last updated on August 7, 2020 at 09.37 pm
Coronavirus, 37 Indian nurses, choose, stay, UAE, battling, Covid-19

(Supplied photo)

The nurses, both men and women who are working across specialities, have been offered jobs at the Aster Mankhool Hospital in Dubai.

As many as 37 nurses, who were on deployment from India to support UAE in its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, have decided to stay back in the country.

The nurses, both men and women who are working across specialities, have been offered jobs at the Aster Mankhool Hospital in Dubai.

Impressed by medical facilities available in the UAE and the warm welcome they received from the country and its people, the nurses showed their willingness to stay on and pursue career opportunities here.

Alisha Moopen, deputy managing director, Aster DM Healthcare, told Khaleej Times that a 109-member medical team, including doctors and nurses, came from the Aster network of hospitals in India to the UAE starting May this year. Forty-nine among them were UAE residents who were stranded in India since March. "Sixty of the nurses and doctors were working in facilities in India. Out of these, 37 nurses have offered to stay back in the UAE, and 23 will return to India. One batch of nurses has already left," she explained.

Alisha said even though they arrived in Dubai on an emergency, they managed to experience Dubai's culture. "I was with the team last week, and the city left them spellbound. Most of them worked at field hospitals and government facilities, and once the field hospitals closed down due to a drastic dip in numbers of Covid-19 patients, we asked the nurses if they would like to stay back. These 37 were most eager."

On the possibility of making the exchange of expertise and human resources between both countries a common feature, Alisha said: "I think with this (move), the stage has been set. The Dubai Health Authority has had the largest exposure to Indian nurses now."

She added: "However, sometimes, when you have procedures to follow, it makes things very long. Given the time constraint we had in a situation like this, matters were fast-tracked to support the city. I am sure we will re-visit this idea and look towards doing a more natural exchange faster."

Moving experiences

Khaleej Times also spoke to some of the nurses who took up offers to work at the hospital in Mankool. Gickson Johny, 34, who is now a staff nurse at the medical-surgical ward at Aster Mankhool said he was working at Aster Medcity in Ernakulum, Kerala, before moving to the UAE. The Thrissur-native said: "Initially, like everyone else, I too was terrified. But, there is no point in living in fear; it will not stop the disease."

Speaking about his most remarkable experience, Johny said: "Since I was in the ICU, I had to wean off several patients from the ventilator. When they regained consciousness and began their road to recovery, the gratitude they expressed to us for saving their was incredible. I cannot describe that feeling."

Johny said he decided to stay back in Dubai as he realised it would be better for his professional growth. "There aren't so many opportunities in India. Here, I can go on to become the CEO of a medical establishment if I arm myself with more qualifications," he said. He hopes to bring his pregnant wife, who also happens to be a nurse, from India to Dubai once their child is born.

Nimisha Balan, a staff nurse at the operation theatre, has also decided to relocate to Dubai. She was working at the Bangalore Aster CMI Hospital as a pain management nurse before she came to the UAE. She said: "I immediately fell in love with Dubai, and I think there are great career opportunities here." Nimisha was posted at a field hospital in Dubai.

"One of the most fulfilling experiences has been to provide emotional support to the patients we treated. There was a patient from Tamil Nadu who was distressed because he could not connect his phone to the WiFi network and could not speak to his family. I let him borrow my phone to make some calls, and his eyes welled up," she added.

Manjamma Ramakrishnappa, a staff nurse with the maternity and labour ward from Bangalore, said she is very impressed with the quality of medical facilities in the UAE. "Since I have worked to combat Covid-19 now, I feel very proud of my profession. The respect we received from the patients has moved us beyond words."

Sanjukumar Vittal Halabar, a staff nurse at the emergency room, said he enjoyed activities such as table tennis, and other games with patients who were undergoing recovery in a Dubai field hospital. "I noticed that no one would want to go speak to patients. I had the opportunity to interact with so many people belonging to various nationalities. I would not have been able to experience this in India," said Halabar.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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