Pakistani frontline doctor receives 10-year Golden Visa

Dr Javairia Hassan received the honour from the government for her exemplary work during the pandemic

  
A Pakistani doctor who has served the UAE tirelessly by treating Covid-19 patients amid the pandemic has been awarded the UAE Golden Visa by authorities.

An intensive care physician with Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), Dr Javairia Hassan received the coveted honour from UAE authorities only three years after moving to the country.

She was among the first doctors to volunteer to take care of Covid-19 patients when the pandemic struck last year. “I have been taking care of in-patient screenings in the intensive care unit, and I’ve been part of the vaccination trials. I’ve also been working at the Seha vaccination centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah,” she told Khaleej Times.

Dr Hassan even contracted the virus in January this year. However, she has made a full recovery since and is back to work as an ICU physician at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

The Dubai resident moved to the UAE in 2018 after getting married. “I finished my MBBS in Pakistan in 2014 and practised medicine there for three years in the government sector. I’d just begun training for my specialisation; however, I couldn’t finish it because I had to move to the UAE,” said Dr Hassan, who began her career in the country at the Healers’ Clinic in Dubai.

Speaking of her experience as a frontliner, she said, “I began working with Covid-19 patients in early May 2020 at a field hospital.” She has not stayed with her husband and three-year-old son for a long time. “I’ve been living in hotels and meet them during the weekends or any special occasions,” she said.

The doctor added that she's worked every public holiday since last year. "Both Eid Al Fitrs, New Year, Eid Al Adha last year — and it looks like I’ll be working this Eid as well. While it has been a huge sacrifice on my part, I believe I have to help those in need.”

‘It is my duty to serve people’

Explaining what drives her, Dr Hassan said, “I’ve always wanted to serve people… This is our duty and why I chose to become a doctor. I’ve never been scared of diseases or medical processes or the sight of blood.” However, when the pandemic began, like all healthcare workers worldwide, she too feared the unseen virus.

“When the pandemic started, it was not just the public; healthcare workers were also scared. There weren’t many studies at the time. However, when the opportunity came up to work in a Covid-19 ward, I leapt at it,” she recalled.

The biggest challenge in the beginning, she said, was the lack of information regarding the virus. “It’s not just the treatment protocol, but there’s a huge mental stress on patients and doctors. We wear the PPE for 12-13 hours straight,” she stated.

Dr Hassan credited her family with being her greatest source of support through the pandemic. “My husband has encouraged me to work and has been very supportive. He was the one who filled out the application for the Golden Visa as well,” she stated.

“I went to GDRFA and applied. I got the call confirming the good news within two days. It was like a gift. I am so happy, and I will continue to serve the country,” she said.

 

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