Dubai: Long-awaited Pakistan Medical Centre (PMC), the first not-for profit community-built health care facility in region, has opened its doors in Dubai.
Built at a cost of Dh20 million by the Pakistan Association in Dubai (PAD), the PMC aims to provide affordable treatment to the community members. The facility is open to all nationalities. Patients who cannot afford to pay will be provided free medical treatment. The PMC started operating from October 5 without any grand opening ceremony, which was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
“The PMC is the first non-for-profit medical facility built by the Pakistani community in the world,” Dr Faisal Ikram, President of PAD, told Gulf News on Monday. He said the state-of-the art medical centre is a gift from the Pakistani community to all other communities in the UAE.
The project was launched on August 14, 2016 under the theme of ‘one nation one dream’ and its foundation stone laid by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance on August 14, 2018. PMC is part of a larger project of Pakistan Centre, the world’s largest community Centre for overseas Pakistanis, built on the novel idea of own a brick. Community members were invited to ‘own a brick’ worth Dh1,000 each as part of their contribution to build the centre. Those who ‘own a brick’ are also given 10-year membership of PAD.
“During the last four years, we have discovered some wonderful philanthropists and social workers who have a strong belief in making an impact. We are grateful to the Community Development Authority for continuously facilitating our campaigns and guiding us in this journey of building this much needed facility,” added Dr Ikram.
Shahid Afridi Health and Fitness Centre
The project includes the medical centre, the Shahid Afridi Health and Fitness Centre, Hub47 (business incubation centre), Hunarkadah (platform for women entrepreneurs), Brick Café, Arts Corner, seminar room, prayer rooms, and the admin block. The facilities are open to all nationalities with exclusive discounts to PAD members.
Dr Nasim Sabir, Medical Director at the PMC, told Gulf News that the PMC was launched with a vision to bring positive change in the community by providing quality health care accessible to everyone.
He made it clear that PMC is not a free medical centre but it provides affordable health care. However, he added: “Patients who cannot afford to pay will be given free medical treatment while those with low-income will get treatment at subsidised rates. The PMC also has a welfare department that looks after the finances of those who are unable to afford treatment.”
“PMC works on a hybrid model that will offer serve free services to deserving members of the society, and will also cater to self-paying patients and people with insurances,” he said.
“We have specialist doctors volunteering their time and skills, and we have in-house laboratory and radiology services that subsidise the total cost of the treatment,” said Dr Sabir. PMC has its own full-time staff across different nationalities other than the volunteer doctors that provide its services. The centre has nine clinics in addition to labs and X-rays facilities.
Dr Sabir said that the PMC is in the process of signing agreements with different big hospitals in the UAE and in Pakistan to refer patients for surgeries and further treatment.
Dr Ikram said that apart from the regular medical staff, more than 150 specialist doctors have already signed up to provide consultation at the centre.
Muhsin Al Banna, general secretary of PAD, said 90 per cent of the support to cover the construction cost has come from within the Pakistani community and the rest from the non-Pakistani community.
The concept of Pakistan Medical Centre was conceived by the Medical Wing of Pakistan Association, which started a free medical camp one a month for the eligible patients. The doctors and health care professionals involved were all volunteers that realised once a month free medical camp was not enough, and a permanent health care facility was required. Since 2009, more than PAD has received more than 30,0000 patients at free medical camps.