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Father's illness inspired me, says award-winning doctor

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 29, 2017
Fathers illness inspired me,  says award-winning doctor
The 38-year old was honoured for her passion and commitment to saving people's lives.

Dr Al Memari said she and her medical team comprising 16 people including doctors and nurses got only 24 hours to prepare and the following day, they were already at the Yemen-Saudi border.

Winning Abu Dhabi Awards has only strengthened Dr Ayesha Al Memari's commitment to offer her services to those working in conflict zones.

Al Memari, the first Emirati physician to specialise in emergency medicine, was among the recipients of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Awards for 2015.

The 38-year old was honoured for a range of services to the community including her passion and commitment to saving people's lives.

She spoke to Khaleej Times on how the award changed her life and strengthened her resolve, as the search for next year's nominees is soon to be concluded.

Al Memari had completed extensive education and training overseas to become the first Emirati physician to specialise in emergency medicine. 

Her sense of duty also led her to volunteer in Yemen - providing emergency medical care to the UAE troops serving in the Coalition Forces - making her the first, female civilian doctor to do so. 

Al Memari said difficulty in finding someone to treat her ill father who required emergency treatment inspired her to pursue a course in emergency medicine so that she can treat her own people.

"I am really glad that my dream came true. At least I have managed to save hundreds of UAE patients in an emergency situation," said Al Memari. 

She said the Yemen incident, for which she received a call for help in treating the UAE soldiers who were wounded in the attack just found her ready.

Working as emergency medicine programme director at Mafraq Hospital, Dr Al Memari got the call in September 2015 when a rocket attack on the UAE troops in Marib City in Yemen claimed the lives of 45 soldiers. More soldiers later succumbed to their injuries. 

'I was scared at first'

"They needed me to send someone who was a specialist in both Emergency and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I was scared at first and spent a few minutes thinking about it," she said.

"I then decided that it was me to go. It was just the right time for me to save the lives of my own people in a war zone and not someone else because I am a specialist in both emergency and intensive care."

Dr Al Memari said she and her medical team comprising 16 people including doctors and nurses got only 24 hours to prepare and the following day, they were already at the Yemen-Saudi border.

"There were scores of injured soldiers but our task was to bring back as many as we could," she said.

"The biggest challenge that I faced when I was in the field, was deciding on which soldiers to fly back home especially those who were critically injured and needed to be treated from the field because it was risky flying them on a plane," she said.

"This was so tough for me given the fact that relatives of all the injured soldiers desperately needed to see them home and be treated there. 

"But I and my team were able to go through it. We managed to fly three critically injured soldiers after giving them quick treatment, and 25 other men."

The Emirati physician said although the trip lasted for less than a day, it is one she can never forget about.

"It was my first time in a war zone and I can never forget about the whole experience. I am really happy that I was part of the team that saved the lives of our dear soldiers," said Al Memari.

And speaking about being recognised for the Abu Dhabi Award, Al Memari said she was greatly honoured to see that her work of saving people's lives was recognised.

"My message to the young people is that as we care four our lives as individuals, it's also important to think about how to contribute to the community. Let's volunteer to do community work and at least offer something to our people and the nation," she said.

After graduating from Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain IN 2005, Dr Al Memari went on to specialise in emergency medicine and critical care from McGill University in Canada.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

 

 

author

Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.





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