Dubai: Some volunteer Pakistani doctors are planning to open a permanent medical centre for the poor after the immense popularity of the free medical camp at the Pakistan Association in Dubai (Pad).
"We are in talks with the authorities concerned to allow us to open a medical centre at the Pad premises because huge numbers of poor patients need free medical attention," said Dr Nighat Aftab, president of the Doctors' Wing of Pad.
Pad was formed by Pakistani doctors and paramedics working in the UAE.
Aftab said around 150 to 200 patients, mostly those who cannot afford to pay for expensive medical treatment, come to the free medical camp.
Popularity of the camp
"As our camp has almost completed two years, it has turned quite big because more than 20 specialist doctors provide consultation to a large number of patients who visit the camp every month," she said, adding that the popularity of the free camp has prompted the volunteer doctors to set up a not-for-profit medical centre for poor patients.
The Pad and the Pakistani Consulate General are co-operating with Doctors Wing to launch the facility as soon as it is approved by authorities.
The volunteer doctors who work in various private and government hospitals and clinics in the UAE meet every month to give their time and skills free of cost to serve their community with special focus on the underprivileged community members.
The free medical camp, which is organised on the last Friday of every month, is not restricted to Pakistani expatriates only but is open to other nationalities as well.
But these doctors have certain limitations as they cannot prescribe medicines, conduct tests and even administer injections.
"We have certain limitations here as we only check the patients and advise them on their medical treatment," said Dr Ziaul Hassan, founding president of the Doctors' Wing.
The law does not permit volunteer doctors to practise their profession without permission. However, they can provide consultancy at such free medical camps.
All they do is to check patients, advise them and educate them about their health care needs.
Hassan said the medical camp had been a great help to patients but much more needs to be done as the poor patients needs lab tests and medicines, which they cannot afford.
"Opening of the Pakistan Medical Centre will certainly help look after these poor patients with more facilities," he said.
He said purchasing expensive medication is the biggest problem for poor patients who come to the camp. He called on philanthropists and community members to contribute to the project for the less privileged members of the community.
Dr Atique Navi, General and Laparoscopic Surgeon, offered his services at the camp because he believes in community service. "But, we should be allowed to do more because it is difficult to serve patients properly without full examination facilities and laboratory facility," he said.