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Workers learn to fight depression at Dubai medical camp

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on May 11, 2018 | Last updated on May 11, 2018 at 09.56 pm
The free health awareness check-up for labourers was held at a labour accommodation in Jebel Ali.
The free health awareness check-up for labourers was held at a labour accommodation in Jebel Ali.

Another interesting aspect of the medical camp was that free books were being given out to workers.


Depression, allergies, heat strokes and smoking are some of the issues that new workers who have joined Dubai's blue-collar community are facing.

In order to help the new workers deal with mental and physical issues that they undergo after leaving their home country, doctors from a number of Dubai hospitals, along with the medical wing of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD), held a  free health awareness check-up for labourers at a Jebel Ali labour accommodation. The medical camp included yoga sessions for workers, blood pressure and sugar check-up as well as dental and eye checks.

It was held under the Community Development Authority's Honour Labour initiative that was launched a few years ago to spread awareness about labourers rights and improve their cohesion in Dubai's community. The initiative is a joint-effort between the authority and its licensed social clubs and private sector in Dubai.

Dr Aamerah Shah, general secretary of the medical wing of PAD and physician at American Hospital Dubai, said: "We saw about 500 workers today majority of whom were young men suffering from hypertension, stress, depression and diabetes. Many also had muscular issues and skin diseases and since the weather is changing, a lot of them are suffering from upper respiratory tract infections.

"Most of them have just come from their home countries and hence not acclimatised to the weather conditions here. At this camp, we are not merely giving them advice on lifestyle modifications but are also recording their details so that we follow up their cases and see to it that they are provided with the right medications and counselling," Dr Shah added.

Dr Nighat Aftab, president of PAD medical wing and a consultant gynaecologist in Latifa Hospital, said: "Workers at this labour accommodation are mostly those who have just been in the UAE for a maximum of six months. So they tend to get depressed as they miss their families, food and friends. For this, they need psychological help. They may turn to smoking, consuming alcohol or could even commit suicide. Therefore, we also have arranged counselling sessions for them and plus we have 30-minute sessions where doctors are telling them about hand hygiene, how to get rid of smoking and teaching them the importance of eating healthy."

Saleh Al Mazmi, head of licensing at the Community Development Authority, visited the camp and appreciated the participant healthcare groups and the efforts of the medical wing of PAD.

Worker Zulfiqar Ali, who has just been in the UAE for three months, said he stays quite upset as it is difficult for him to live with people of different nationalities in one room. "I have been told that I have high blood pressure and I am grateful to these doctors who are giving advice free of cost." 

Another interesting aspect of the medical camp was that free books were being given out to workers. Dr Samina Nasir, head of education committee at the PAD, said: "Labourers have a right to read and right and educate themselves so with the support of the Sharjah Book Authority, we arranged free books for workers to gain knowledge. Almost 300 books were given out today."

saman@khaleejtimes.com





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