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Coronavirus Pandemic

Meet the UAE-based volunteer who helped save lives of 878 Covid patients

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on August 29, 2020


The 40-year-old from Mavelikkara in Kerala left behind his job as a sales executive and created an alert mechanism.

At the onset of the National Sterilisation Programme and the #StayHome Campaign in the UAE late March, most residents and citizens began bulk buying food and other necessities and lived in fear of an 'unseen' virus. However, it is the brave and timely action of local authorities, healthcare professionals and thousands of volunteers that safeguarded the lives of UAE residents.

One among the many residents who stepped out of their comfort zones to volunteer in the frontlines during this tough time is Indian national Shyju Daniel. The 40-year-old from Mavelikkara in Kerala left behind his job as a sales executive and created an alert mechanism that saved over 870 Covid-19 patients in Dubai. "I work for a company as a sales executive. I'm a resident of Hor Al Anz and in the initial stages, there was a lot of panic."

Shyju's volunteer efforts resulted in the transfer of 878 patients from their homes to hospitals and quarantine centres across Dubai from April to June.

A volunteer with the social group Incas Volunteers Team and the All Kerala Alumni Federation (AKCAF) Task Force, Shyju was tasked with collecting the data of patients who were showing symptoms of Covid-19 and alerting ambulances to transfer them into medical and quarantine facilities.

"I began getting calls from people who had symptoms and were unsure about what they needed to do. Most of them were living in bachelor accommodations," said Shyju. When the volume of calls began increasing, Shyju created a mechanism that collected basic data of the patients, including their names, phone number, ID card number and location.

"Once I had these details, I would alert ambulances that worked with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and with Aster DM Healthcare," he explained.

Since his system allowed in-depth follow-ups, he was able to ensure all 878 received care "Some were serious cases and some were very mild. Only one person whom I helped died, an Indian man from Goa who was living in Naif," said Shyju.

When he was not taking calls from patients, Shyju was out distributing food kits with AKCAF and Incas to the Naif district. Shjyu said he has immense gratitude for the Dubai Police authorities who stepped in to help when there was a shortage of ambulances or there was a delay in them reaching the venues where people needed help.

"At bachelor accommodations, people who were tested positive were being asked to leave by roommates so the infection wouldn't spread. I would see that these people were transferred to quarantine hotels at least," he added.

Now, Shyju continues to lend his support to the distressed Indians who are seeking help to return to their homelands.

"After all these efforts, a few weeks ago, I had to undergo an angioplasty since doctors found two blocks in my heart. Luckily, I was able to catch it early and undergo treatment. Also, I find myself fortunate that I did not contract Covid-19," he said.

Commenting on Shyju's efforts, social worker and senior legal consultant advocate Hashiq said, "During the initial days, Shyju did not sleep a wink. He had become the single-point of contact for all Covid-19 positive cases for all cases that the INCAS group was alerted of, and he would coordinate with health authorities and Aster to place them in medical and quarantine facilities. He would receive calls throughout the night on most days."


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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