Ramadan 2022: Meet the family of doctors giving labourers nutritious Iftar meals

The medical professionals say many workers become dehydrated and face gastric issues due to a lack of healthy food

By SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Fri 29 Apr 2022, 6:54 AM

Last updated: Fri 29 Apr 2022, 7:15 AM

After seeing a number of workers with similar health issues at their clinics this Ramadan, a family of doctors came to a realisation: more than free Iftar meals, these people need proper nutrition.

Indian worker Sikandar Khan, for example, felt sick and uneasy around mid-Ramadan, prompting him to visit the Dr Ismail Day Surgical Centre near his residence.

It turned out he was dehydrated and had a gastric issue — and many of his colleagues got the same diagnosis.

"People visiting our clinics during Ramadan are more likely to have symptoms of dehydration, gastro-oesophageal reflux…which could have been caused by the insufficient intake of nutrients," said gastroenterologist Dr Dawood Kazia, the eldest son of Dr Ismail Kazia, who is the chairman of the centre.

"People tend to eat spicier and oil-rich food and take less fluids during their Iftar, which further aggravate their symptoms. Patients at our labour camp clinics are even more prone to these symptoms," added Dr Dawood.

These workers haven't been getting the nutrition they need, the doctors said.

"They can't afford proper meals as most of them earn minimal salaries, which they have to send back to their families. This is why I found it necessary to provide them with quality meals," said Dr Ismail, who has a day surgery centre in Karama along with six polyclinics across Dubai. His clinics at labour camps in Al Quoz, Jebel Ali and Sonapur are dedicated to the treatment of workers at minimal charges.

Dr Ismail and his sons took up the initiative during the last 10 days of Ramadan and treated the workers to some nutritious Iftar meals. They gave them parcels packed with mutton pulav, date water and more.

Besides the food, the doctors also conducted a session to educate workers on how to eat right during Suhoor, Iftar and after Iftar.

"The last 10 days of Ramadan are considered to be very auspicious and the Almighty Allah has given us the chance to serve for a good cause," Dr Ismail said.

The family's Iftar distribution and awareness sessions were planned at three locations near their clinics in Al Quoz, Jebel Ali and Sonapur, where several workers reside.


"By providing Iftar to such patients in the form of nutritious and hygienic food, we as doctors can help prevent the onset of various gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal symptoms," Dr Dawood said.

Dr Nooh Kazia, endodontist at Dr Ismail Polyclinic, said: "It just feels great to get involved in a good cause."

It was a gesture that the workers appreciated.

"We are thankful for what the doctors have done for us. They not only treated our conditions but also provided us with quality meals," said Khan.

The family is hosting another Iftar gathering for them near their Jebel Ali clinic on Saturday.

- ayaz@khaleejtimes.com

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