Coronavirus: Dubai doctors who got 10-year visa call it 'best gift ever'

Coronavirus, Dubai doctors, 10-year visa, call it, best gift ever

Dubai - A paediatric trauma and orthopaedic surgeon dedicated the visa honour to team work that "helped keep children at AJCSH safe and Covid-19-free".

By Saman Haziq

Published: Tue 21 Jul 2020, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Jul 2020, 12:06 PM

Dubai doctors who got 10-year visas recently have called it the "best gift" they have received. Australian national with Lebanese roots Dr Mohamad Bitar, who heads the ENT surgery department at Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital (AJCSH), called the honour a "touching gesture".
"It was such a positive news in these negative times and it motivated me to work harder. We usually get a 'thank you' from parents when we treat their kids but this visa surprise for me was a direct appreciation from the leadership of the country. When I saw the visa letter sent to us by our hospital CEO, I got this sense of belonging to the UAE."
Dr Bitar was among the 90 doctors from AJCSH - the UAE's first and only paediatric hospital - to get the 10-year golden card residency visa in recognition of their efforts to support young patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since Covid-19 is mostly concentrated in the ear, nose and throat region, Dr Bitar's job was in the high-risk category. "Since the symptoms of common cold and Covid-19 are the same, we would mostly be dressed in PPE while seeing patients. To allay the fear of parents - who were scared to step out with their children during the pandemic - I did a lot of virtual consultations, seeing their children online and comforting them. Although it was hard to diagnose virtually, I managed to help out several families."
Priority: Keep kids Covid-free
UK national Dr Ibrar Majid, medical director of AJCSH, came to the UAE just last year. Referring to the 10-year visa, he said: "It was a real honour and privilege to receive such an accolade in such a short period of time".
The paediatric trauma and orthopaedic surgeon dedicated the visa honour to team work that "helped keep children at AJCSH safe and Covid-19-free".
He said the team wanted to keep the hospital Covid-free so parents and children could come comfortably to the hospital even during the pandemic. "Since our hospital was a Covid-free hospital from the very beginning, we absorbed a lot of complex cases of ailing children from other hospitals across the UAE. This helped us provide a safe place for sick children and also provide their parents peace of mind."
Calling the golden visa a great stimulus for healthcare professionals, Dr Majid said: "After working in the UK for many years, I came to Dubai to give my best and make a difference in children's healthcare. I look forward to reciprocating the trust and commitment that the Dubai government has shown by giving us this award."
'Unexpected pleasant surprise'
Another senior doctor at AJCSH to have received the golden visa was Dr Eva Simkova, consultant paediatric nephrologist, who moved to the UAE from the Czech Republic in 2011.
"During the Covid-19 pandemic, we were handling much more number of children at AJCSH. It was definitely hectic but at the same time rewarding ... as we treated and discharged several ailing children. I felt proud to be part of this hospital that was a safe haven for children and their parents."
Dr Eva said she was "greatly surprised and also honoured" when she received the email from her hospital apprising her about the visa.
"I didn't expect to get this long-term visa but I really appreciate this great decision. Earlier, I had to get my visa renewed after every three years but now for the next 10 years I can stay like a honoured citizen of this beautiful country. Thank you to the wise leadership of the UAE for recognising our efforts and rewarding us," she added. 

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