From left: Dr Nighat Aftab; Dr Faisal Ikram; Tahir Zaidi, joint secretary of PAD; and Amjad Hussain, executive member of PAD, at a press conference to announce the project. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: In a novel attempt to raise funds for a multi-speciality medical centre, the Pakistan Association in Dubai (PAD) has launched an ‘own a brick’ campaign for the Dh12 million facility.

The first-ever not-for-profit Pakistan Medical Centre project will be launched on August 14, the Independence Day of Pakistan. The centre will be housed in a two-storey building which will cost Dh12 million. PAD offers community members 12,000 bricks to own with a price tag of Dh1,000 for each brick in a bid to raise Dh12 million for the construction of the building, which will be completed in 18 months.

“We don’t want to raise funds through donation but offer community members a chance to have their share in the medical centre which will cater to the low-income group of people offering top class health-care facilities,” said Dr Faisal Ikram, general secretary of PAD, while addressing a press conference on Tuesday.

He said at least 1,000 bricks will also be offered to the low-income group so that they can contribute even Dh100 each to have their share in the construction of the building.

“We are sure to achieve our target as more than 1.4 million Pakistani expatriates live in the UAE. There should not be any problem in attracting 12,000 people to ‘own a brick’ for the noble cause.

Those who ‘own a brick’ for Dh1,000 will also get lifetime membership of the association. The membership fee alone costs Dh1,000 per member. This is a win-win situation for those who contribute to this project.

“Pakistan Medical Centre will be the first ever non-profit health-care facility to be built by expatriates at their community centre anywhere in the world,” he said.

The medical centre is being built in cooperation with Community Development Authority (CDA), Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dubai Economic Department, Dar Al Ber Society and Emirates Red Crescent. “We are grateful to all the authorities concerned for granting us permission for this unique community project,” said Dr Ikram.

He said the idea of building the medical centre was conceived by the Medical Wing of the Association, which is a group of volunteer Pakistani doctors who hold medical camps once a month to provide free consultation to underprivileged community members.

“We have been holding free medical camps for the last seven years and so far have examined more than 30,000 patients,” said Dr Nighat Aftab, president of the medical wing. They also hold free medical camps at the labour accommodations twice a year and a blood donation drive once a year.

“We got the idea of having a dedicated non-for profit medical centre after realising the community’s health needs through our free medical camps,” she added.

Dr Aftab noted that many low-income expatriates do not have access to quality health services and a free medical camp once a month is not enough to cater to their needs. “The whole idea behind the medical centre is to provide them a permanent health-care facility,” she added.

Dr Aamerah Shah, general secretary of the medical wing, said that the wing has a pool of 50 doctors, including specialists and consultants, and they will provide volunteer services at the centre.

The medical centre will be built after demolishing the existing building of the association, established in 1969.

The ground floor of the new complex will consist of an office block, a mosque and a restaurant while the first floor will have a medical centre, fitness and rehabilitation centre, meeting rooms and children’s play area.