Abu Dhabi: Family members of an American doctor couple, who contributed to the development of healthcare in Al Ain since the 1960s, had a chance to hear their service being praised by none other than His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Shaikh Mohammad on Tuesday received the family of Dr. Pat and Dr. Marian Kennedy, the founders of the ‘Kanad Hospital’ – formerly known as ‘Oasis Hospital’ and renamed this week after the Kennedys.
He had ordered the renaming of the hospital in honour of the couple whose hospital had saved the lives of many babies and witnessed the birth of many members of the royal family in Abu Dhabi, including Shaikh Mohammad himself.
The meeting was held at the Qasr Al Bahr, Sea Palace, in Abu Dhabi.
During the meeting, Shaikh Mohammad welcomed the Kennedy family, commending the role that Dr. Pat and Dr. Marian Kennedy played in developing healthcare in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in particular.
Shaikh Mohammad said, “I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to two persons who made their mark in establishing healthcare in the country since its foundation.”
Shaikh Mohammad added that the “UAE appreciates the efforts of everyone who contributed to the march of its progress and development.”
He further said that the two doctors “came to the region at a difficult time, but they contributed with their efforts and sincerity in helping the families to overcome many health difficulties.”
He also took to Twitter to share images of the meeting. He posted: “I had the pleasure of meeting the children and grandchildren of Dr. Pat and Marian Kennedy who founded the Kanad Hospital in Al Ain. Their great service to the people of the region and contribution to developing primary health care are much appreciated.”
A video showing Shaikh Mohammad’s meeting and speech as well as some old photos of the doctor couple and their work, has also been releases.
For their part, members of the Kennedy family - accompanied by Shaikh Theyab Bin Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court - expressed their gratitude to Shaikh Mohammad for renaming the ‘Oasis Hospital’ as ‘Kanad Hospital’ in recognition of the Kennedy family’s faithful efforts during the past 60 years.
Dr Marian Kennedy, who together with her husband, Dr. Pat Kennedy, opened the Oasis Hospital in Al Ain on the instruction of the UAE’s founding father Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to set up a facility to provide healthcare services for newborns and infants, given that the newborns at the time were susceptible to disease.
Their efforts at the Oasis Hospital significantly contributed to the reduction of mortality rates, particularly among infants, and raised the birth rates. At least 4,000 babies were born while the Kennedys worked at the Oasis Hospital.
In 1975 Dr. Marian and Dr Pat moved to a private practice in Ripon, California.
Set to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2020, the hospital as seen the birth of 120,000 children since its foundation.
Since its establishment, the hospital has gone through several developmental stages, most notably in 2015 with the opening of the new building equipped with the latest medical equipment and facilities.
In the hospital, paediatricians see approximately 9,000 children per month in the outpatient section.
Dr. Marian, mother of four, died back home in Carmichael, California, on Thursday, July 17 at the age of 84.
--With inputs from WAM