Ramadan in UAE: I’ll never forget the holy month during pandemic peak, says hospital guard

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - I was posted at the Cardiac ICU. Those were crucial days and unforgettable experiences, says Shah Nawaz Khan.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 8 May 2021, 10:01 PM

Hospital security officer Shah Nawaz Khan says his experience of Ramadan last year amid the peak of the pandemic will stay with him forever.

“I was posted at the Cardiac ICU. Those were crucial days and unforgettable experiences. The emotional scenes witnessed in the Covid ward will always stay with me. Even after Ramadan, the rest of the year presented difficult conditions to manage for those working in a hospital,” said Khan who has been posted for the past four months at Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital, but for nearly 11 years, Khan served public healthcare facilities Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City and Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi, and Marfa Hospital in Al Dhafra.

Khan, 40, who hails from Peshawar in Pakistan, can only talk about his experiences of dealing with footfalls at a Covid ward and trying to offer comforting words to bystanders when asked about his Ramadan experience.

“I have been here (in the UAE) since November 2009. This is my first Ramadan while working at a private hospital. During Ramadan, a security guard’s duty becomes challenging when you have to patrol outdoors under the hot sun, say while controlling traffic. My current job is indoors and I don’t face any difficulty.”

Khan noted that for most people, a security guard at the main entrance is the first point of contact to get simple information on how to proceed once at the hospital and the like. Currently, Khan’s job also involves checking the Al Hosn app on visitors’ smartphones for proof of vaccination and RT-PCR testing.

“I am mostly positioned at the main entrance, reception, operation theatre and inpatient department. I have to check people’s temperatures and verify if they have either taken vaccination or got a negative RT-PCR test result. Otherwise, we can’t allow entry for a visitor to meet the patient or a bystander to stay on.”

For Khan, who hails from a large family, iftar has always been very simple.

“We are six brothers and two sisters. My parents and three brothers stay in the village, and the rest are settled in Peshawar. I have been married for six years now. My iftar has always been a simple ritual. Here, the hospital provides an iftar kit. My shift ends by 6pm, so I end fast in my room. At times, there will be my roommate or none.”

And he is most likely going to spend his Eid at workplace.

“If I get an off, I usually spend Eid with friends and relatives. But most of them left this year, so my Eid will be different. I had planned to bring my wife here for a visit, but it is not possible because of the pandemic.”


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