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Covid-19: Family of UAE medical frontliners share stories of support, fear

ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 11, 2020
UAE medical frontliners, Covid-19, coronavirus

(File photo)

Khaleej Times speaks to a few of them to find what they did to cope with the situation.

Families of frontline doctors in the UAE have been going through immense stress, family isolation and the fear of getting infected and losing their loved ones as they go out every day to treat Covid-19 patients. Khaleej Times speaks to a few of them to find what they did to cope with the situation.

There was constant fear

Fashion designer Asiya Rafiq, wife of Dr Hamudulay, a paediatrician at an Abu Dhabi government hospital treating Covid-19 patients since March, said the pandemic has affected millions of people physically, mentally and emotionally. "The families of doctors are no different as they have been an important part of the fighting unit as frontliners," she said.

Covid-19: Family of UAE medical frontliners share stories of support, fear (KT24682711.PNG)

"The freedom of movement, family isolation, the constant fear of getting infected, the fear of losing your spouse who goes out every day to treat Covid-19 patients. It has been tough for me and our little boy over the past four months.

"Although the UAE Government has provided all the necessary measures to safeguard the health of the frontline doctors, still it couldn't take away our fear. We also made various adjustments to ensure we are all safe," said Asiya. "I had to take care of most of the home affairs in addition to my work and supervising our child for the e-learning lessons because my husband had to work extra hours."

There was constant fear

Fashion designer Asiya Rafiq, wife of Dr Hamudulay, a paediatrician at an Abu Dhabi government hospital treating Covid-19 patients since March, said the pandemic has affected millions of people physically, mentally and emotionally. "The families of doctors are no different as they have been an important part of the fighting unit as frontliners," she said

Covid-19: Family of UAE medical frontliners share stories of support, fear (KT24684711.PNG)
"The freedom of movement, family isolation, the constant fear of getting infected, the fear of losing your spouse who goes out every day to treat Covid-19 patients. It has been tough for me and our little boy over the past four months.

"Although the UAE Government has provided all the necessary measures to safeguard the health of the frontline doctors, still it couldn't take away our fear. We also made various adjustments to ensure we are all safe," said Asiya. "I had to take care of most of the home affairs in addition to my work and supervising our child for the e-learning lessons because my husband had to work extra hours."

Father tensed about frontliner son

Hamza Ismail Dalvi, 75, who lives in the same house with his son Dr Faisal Dalvi, internal medicine specialist at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi, said the family has been under intense tension. "My son would go out early morning every day and returned after 8pm. Phone calls from the hospital kept coming in even after he returned from duty," said Dalvi.

Covid-19: Family of UAE medical frontliners share stories of support, fear (KT24683711.PNG)

"It has been a difficult situation for me and his 70-year-old mother. We stay in the house and my son kept telling us to wear masks at home as he kept away from us. When he returned from duty, he would clean himself before entering into the house."

The father said they worried about their son's health as they feared about their lives too. "I suffer from lung problems and feared I would contract the virus easily," said Hamza. "We kept in isolation for many months despite sharing the same house."

Happy about selfless service

Tina Zakir Mohamed, wife of Dr Zakir Mohamed who leads a team of doctors in a Covid-19 facility in Dubai, said the world required healthcare workers to rise to the occasion. "I was fortunate to witness the selfless service of my husband and his team day and night without worrying about their own health," said Tina.

"Despite the fears, my children and I are proud of Zakir. We were happy to offer him all the support. We were careful with a multistep decontamination process every time he returned home. In April and May he was returning home in the early hours of the morning every day."

She said adapting to this changed life has been an important part of the journey, especially as Dr Zakir is so dedicated to the cause. "It took a few days to get used to a new way of life and routine with a focus on thorough sanitising.  Although it was a tough period, we were grateful for the opportunity to give back to society and the UAE," said Tina. "I hope this disease will be behind us and we can look forward to a brighter future."

Covid-19: Family of UAE medical frontliners share stories of support, fear (KT24685711.PNG)

DAD was SO committed: Daughter

Miral Zalabani, an entrepreneur and daughter of an elderly orthopaedic surgeon who has worked for Abu Dhabi hospitals for the past 43 years, said that her father was continuing work in the initial weeks of Covid-19 restrictions.

"My mum and I were upset. We requested him to ask the hospital to give time off because of his age, after all, he is considered among the high-risk group. But he said I am doctor, I promised to help and heal people," said Zalabani.

"He would go to work for half days. In the beginning, as the numbers were rising, mum and I were very worried. But we tried to be brave for him and encouraged him so he would return home not stressed during the dreary times. He is a great example showing commitment during hard times and not once complaining," she said.
ismail@khaleejtimes.com

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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