Abu Dhabi: A 105-member medical team, the second such batch of medics from India, arrived in the UAE on Wednesday morning on a medical mission to treat COVID-19 patients.
The medical team comprising of critical care nurses, doctors, and paramedics landed at Abu Dhabi International Airport on a specially chartered Etihad aircraft on Wednesday morning.
An initiative of VPS Healthcare, the team members will be working in the critical care unit of various COVID-19 hospitals supporting the nation’s combat against the pandemic.
The arrival of the medical team in the UAE was facilitated by the Indian Embassy, Department of Health, and UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor said: “This is an excellent example of how our strategic partnership with the UAE is being implemented on the ground in the area of health care.”
“We have always emphasized the strength of collective effort in fighting this pandemic. India and the UAE are now showing how helpful this can be in practice. This has been possible due to the long-standing and robust ties shared between our nations.”
Meet the second batch, plus earlier stories
75 new recruits for the mission
Of the newly arrived 105 medics, 75 are recruits from India who have come to join the UAE’s battle against the pandemic, VPS Healthcare said.
“The remaining 30 are employees of VPS Healthcare who had gone to India on vacation. They couldn’t return due to lockdown. All of these team members are extensively trained and experienced in critical care,” the group said.
VPS Healthcare Group Medical Director Dr. Nabil Debouni, said they are extremely proud to bring a well-experienced medical team from India to the UAE to strengthen the fight against COVID-19.
“We are fighting an unprecedented situation. The UAE government has been rolling out a lot of initiatives across the emirates to contain the virus. We are happy and humbled to be a part of this. Bringing a medical team is a part of our continuous effort in supporting the government. It is our responsibility and duty,” he said.
Thanking the governments of India and the UAE for their support in bringing the medical team to Abu Dhabi, Debouni said: “Ever since we discussed this with the authorities, we have received overwhelming support from the Indian Embassy, Department of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Indian government. We also extend our deep gratitude to them for helping us in this mission.”
All from Kerala
The group said all the members of the medical team are from the state of Kerala and had undergone a COVID-19 test on Monday in Kochi before they boarded the flight to the UAE.
The members followed social distancing norms all throughout the journey, it added.
Vinod Sebastian, one of the senior nurses among the medical team, said it is a proud moment for each of them. “It is our duty to serve and treat the patients during this unprecedented crisis. For the majority of the nurses in the medical team, it is their maiden journey to a foreign country.
He said all the nurses in the team are extensively experienced in critical care.
“We are very confident and motivated. We are taking it up as a challenge,” he said, adding that his family has been very supportive and encouraging. Vinod had been a frontline volunteer when Kerala faced devastating floods in 2018 and 2019.
The UAE’s COVID-19 facilities are expected to get a shot in the arm with the arrival of the second batch of Indian medics, which makes it a total of 135 nurses from India, offfering critical care for patients here.
Earlier this month, the first group of 88 medics had come over from India to join the UAE’s battle against the coronavirus.
As reported by Gulf News, 60 critical care nurses working with Aster hospitals in three Indian states, who were brought in for temporarily serving various COVID-19 facilities in Dubai, began their duty on Tuesday.
The rest of the employees of Aster DM Healthcare facilities, nurses and a few doctors who were on leave back home, were to resume their service in their respective facilities.
Dr Ahmed Al Banna, UAE Ambassador to India said, “This reflects the special bonding between our two countries, and the commitment to stand for each other in the critical time.”
He further added that this is of the examples of supporting each other for dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 amongst many. “The services of the medical team will be helpful for the UAE in battling this pandemic,” he said.
Dr Al Banna appreciated the support of the Ministry of External Affairs of India and other key ministries in the matter.