UAE: Thousands of residents get free treatment in this medical centre

The centre has 18 specialities, an in-house lab including radiology and a physiotherapy department


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 10 Sep 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 10 Sep 2023, 10:43 PM

The UAE is a true model of tolerance, co-existence and inclusion. If you wish to witness it in person, then Pakistan Medical Centre in Oud Metha, Dubai, is the destination to go to.

The first not-for-profit medical centre by any community in the entire Gulf region, the centre provides free treatment to thousands of UAE residents of various nationalities including Asians, Africans and Arabs every year.

“We have around 44 top doctors of various nationalities such as Indians, Europeans, Pakistanis, Italians, Arabs etc. who come and volunteer here. The staff employed here is also from across all nationalities. Hence, we have a true model of tolerance and inclusion here,” said Dr Faisal Ikram, president of Pakistan Association Dubai.

“In terms of patient demographics, we have over 80 nationalities. Last year, around 22,00 patients received treatment and our target is 30,000 this year. Bulk of them around 50-60 per cent (15,000-18,000 patients) receive free treatment and the rest are cash payment and insurance-payment patients,” Dr Faisal told Khaleej Times in an interview recently.

The top nationalities who visit the Medical Centre and receive welfare treatment are citizens of Pakistan, Indian, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Emiratis. “It’s mainly because the cost is heavily subsidised that it’s sometimes less than the co-payment that patients pay to hospitals. Importantly, they get top-notch treatment here as well from the best doctors,” said Dr Faisal, who works at Mediclinic and specialises in bariatric and general surgeries.

Operating under the umbrella of Pakistan Association Dubai, PMC has 18 specialities, an in-house lab including radiology, and a physiotherapy department. “We are not restricted to Pakistanis, but open to all nationalities. People who can’t afford to pay get free treatment. For the rest, it is subsidised.”

Dr Faisal revealed that PMC will add a pharmacy this year.

1st platform for volunteering doctors

It is also the first institutionalised volunteering platform for health professionals in the UAE which provides an opportunity for healthcare professionals to volunteer. Doctors from any hospital can volunteer, subject to approvals from the Dubai Health Authority and employer.

“We tie up with healthcare providers and other facilities as a partner. So we are not competing with them. For them, this is an opportunity where they can dispense their CSR, allow their staff to come and volunteer here.”

Dr Faisal added that they were also providing two-week internship programmes for high school children to learn about medical centres and get a feel of how community centres work. “Next year, we are tying up with a local university where medical students will do community work with us. That could be their summer attachments as it is a requirement of medical schools to expose their students to community work,” he said, adding that PMC also reaches out to labour camps as well.

Serving humanity for decades

Dr Faisal also joined PAD as a volunteer during the 2010 floods in Pakistan. Initially, PMC came into being in order to support the Pakistani community and then later it expanded services to other communities in the UAE.

The organisation is purely run by volunteers such as the advisory board, board of directors, and PAD council. However, there are around 70 people employed in the organization to run operations.

The PAD President has a strong passion for community welfare as he was president of the Patient Welfare Society in school.

“We were involved in the blood donation drive, raising funds and assisting the patient. And this has grown into a passion also. Plus, my father was also involved in social work in Sialkot. I also volunteered in ‘Gift of the Givers’,” he said.

When Dr Faisal came to UAE, he joined the Pakistan Association Dubai and successfully spearheaded it, boosting the community’s confidence in the Association PMC.

As a president, he spends around 3-4 hours a day at PAD.

“Everyone has got 24 hours a day and it depends on how you prioritise and make your time purposeful. I always find that we work 8 hours a day for our livelihood and if you don’t have a particular cause and purpose, you would probably spend time at home sitting in front of the TV or just going out shopping, rather than have more useful and productive,” he added.


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