A one-stop clinic to meet almost every healthcare need - and visa formality - of up to 3,000 residents a day opened next to Dubai's biggest labour housing complex on Monday.

The Al Muhaisnah Medical Fitness Centre covers almost 107,000 square-feet in its namesake district - popularly known as Sonapur – which is home to hundreds of thousands of foreign workers. It is located off Emirates Road, before Interchange 1 going towards Sharjah.

The health centre was officially opened by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai. He was sided by Minister of Health Humaid Al Qutami, senior police officials and diplomats.

The clinic has a section for radiography, pathology, quarantine, vaccination and even “naturalisation and residency.'' It is authorised by the Dubai Health Authority to carry out blood tests and other health checks needed for a UAE employment or residency visa. An onsite typing office can process documents for medical or visa formalities.
All visa applicants have to show they are free of contagious diseases like AIDS before they are allowed to live and work in the Emirates.

The 150 clinic staffers – doctors, nurses, administrators, etc - can attend to a maximum of 500 visitors at a time, after which another batch is allowed in. It is hoped the development will ease pressure on five other government clinics overburdened by visa applicants after Dubai health authorities banned private medical centres from carrying out the visa fitness tests.

An electronic queuing system at Al Muhaisnah automatically distributes ticket numbers to visitors as they walk in, after which they take a seat in the designated waiting areas for each section, equipped with flat-screen TVs. Or they may decide to spend time at the in-house cafeteria. A computerised system calls out the ticket and counter number after each patron has been attended to. There are 13 counters in the registration section alone.

Patients who may need greater medical attention are moved to the “residential facility'' - a 60-bed series of back-to-back rooms for “short stay''.

“The clinic used to be an interconnected series of bachelors' accommodation,'' said John Theodory, Managing Partner of Modern Design Contracting Company, the firm that built the clinic. “We completely transformed it in six months into a Dh25-million-facility for healthcare. It has been designed to help clients. I hope people will take advantage of the equipment and service here.''

The clinic also has a mortuary within its quarters. It can process the paperwork required for the transfer of a deceased person back to his or her home country.