Dubai, UAE: A group of Pakistani doctors plan to set up a medical centre to provide affordable, low-cost care to all nationalities.
The clinic is expected to open before the end of the year and will operate, six days a week, in the offices of the Pakistan Association of Dubai (Pad) in Oud Metha Road.
"The whole idea is to transform our monthly medical camps to a daily clinic that operates on a not-for-profit basis, it will be self-sustainable so we can provide low-cost care," said Dr Faisel Ikram, Pad’s general secretary and a surgical gastroenterologist with City Hospital.
"We realised monthly camps were probably not enough and people required constant follow-up. There was need for a set-up where they can meet a doctor on a regular basis, walk in for advice and care."
The clinic will be staffed by a full-time male and female general practitioner, a dentist and visiting specialists from various fields including gynaecology, dermatology, orthopaedics and opthalmology.
The full-time doctors will be paid and specialists will volunteer their time.
Doctors aim to also tackle chronic ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and provide medical advice on health, nutrition and exercise.
Since appointments with specialists are expensive, screenings and timely advice from visiting doctors can benefit workers.
Other doctors spoke of the enthusiasm building up about the clinic.
"We have been organising monthly medical camps since 2009 but we don’t know the medical treatment the workers receive in between," said Dr Nighat Aftab, president of Pad’s medical wing and a consultant gynaecologist in Latifa Hospital.
"When workers go to a medical camp they often don’t know where to go for a follow-up. It will be good to provide continuous care so they have more options available. We will do proper investigations to help workers with chronic problems. Many require dental care and here they can get fillings and check-ups done."
Doctors see about 300 patients at the free clinic on the last Friday of every month at the Pad office. Apart from Pakistani nationals, Indians, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshi and some Philippine nationals visit the monthly clinic.
Plans for the new medical centre have been submitted to Dubai Health Authority and the Community Development Authority.
"This is the first time a clinic is being set up in a community centre, so we also need to get permissions from the CDA," Dr Ikram said.
A similar plan four years ago did not get off the ground but this time doctors have secured about Dh2 million to run the clinic.
"It is doctors from our medical wing who have pledged and contributed the amount and we are confident we will not have any trouble setting up the clinic," he said.
"There will be certain people who can’t pay even the minimal cost so we will have a provision for free consultation and a fund allocated for them."
There are also plans for a small laboratory to collect samples and a pharmacy at the clinic expected to run between 9am and 9pm from Saturday until Thursday.
© The NationalMay 2014