Ramadan 2021

Ramadan in UAE: Healthy mornings keep doctor at her best on busiest days

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on April 14, 2021
Supplied photo

On regular days, her day begins early with some exercise followed by breakfast.

Dr Shaza Mohammed always makes it a point to start her day right so she could overcome the many challenges doctors face day to day, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This Ramadan, she remains passionate in meeting and serving her patients even if her mornings start at 3.45am.

“Despite Covid-19, we try and maintain traditions at home. Usually, other family members would come home for Iftar. That is not the case anymore,” said the Egyptian national, a family medicine specialist at the Medcare Medical Centre, Al Barsha.

On regular days, her day begins early with some exercise followed by breakfast. During Ramadan, however, Dr Shaza’s day starts earlier. “I wake up at 3.45am or 4am to have my Suhoor followed by my dawn prayers. After which, depending on my schedule, I come into work and see patients.”

Since the pandemic struck, she has been dealing with coronavirus patients and she needs to be extra careful because her aged mother who lives with her.

“I remember last year, we were seeing several sick patients. We do the PCR test and if they are diagnosed, they are referred to the Dubai Health Authority or we present our help to them.

“I would go into work in one pair of scrubs and change into another when I reached the clinic. I’d get back home and clean the scrubs, take a shower, and keep cleaning and changing them on a daily basis. It was a bit crazy…I am very obsessive about these things, but I have to do it to ensure I don’t bring anything from work to home.”

When asked about how her work routines have changed in the past year, she said: “It is still busy, especially at night, we continue to remain busy. In fact, on the first day of Ramadan, the clinic was busy throughout the day.”

This is the second time that she will be observing the holy month during the pandemic. But since there are no curfews for medical clinics this time, doctors have the option to break their fast in the clinic or go back home, she said. “If we’re on duty, we get a one-hour break.”

At home, Dr Shaza breaks her fast with dates and water. It is also a tradition for her to consume khushaf, a dish made out of dried fruits and apricot paste. “It is pretty rich in sugar, we don’t do it a lot. Our family gatherings are an intimate affair now,” she added.

With the virus still around, her advice to UAE residents is simple. “Stick to the rules and regulations and take the vaccine if you can. We are lucky the vaccine is free and available to all.”



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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These prayer timings are for Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. For Abu Dhabi, add four minutes. Deduct four minutes for Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain, and six minutes for Fujairah.

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