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Nurses felicitated at Dubai's Rashid Hospital by National Air Cargo Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The International Nurses Day, the 200th birth anniversary of the Mother of Nursing, Florence Nightingale, which fell during the COVID-19 pandemic yesterday, saw nurses in the UAE being feted by leaders, officials and community members, including a young coronavirus patient who has recovered.

Leading by example, His Highness Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, paid the nation’s tributes to the frontline warriors during the pandemic.

“As we celebrate World Nurses Day, we salute our frontline that faces the pandemic bravely. We pay tribute to them here in the UAE and the world. Their role is essential, and the sacrifice is great. They are truly the embodiment of mercy and compassion,” Shaikh Mohamed tweeted.

Saying it with roses

National Air Cargo officials said it with roses when they felicitated around 1,500 nurses and paramedics with the Rashid Hospital in Dubai on Tuesday.

The specialised freight company’s president Jacob Mathew and vice-president Alan White oversaw the distribution of 1,500 premium quality red roses and fruit baskets containing oranges, apples and dates being distributed to the nurses and paramedics.

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The Nurses Day celebration at Rashid Hospital Image Credit: Supplied

“While a lot of people are working from home, these nurses go to work every day and save lives. We wanted to give something back to the frontliners as a gesture to appreciate what they are doing, especially during the pandemic,” Mathew told Gulf News.

Dr Fahad Baslaib, CEO of Rashid Hospital, said: “It’s a special occasion. It is a good gesture on their part to come and support frontliners who are dealing with patients having COVID-19. As we wish a Happy World Nurses Day to all the nurses, we also have a big wish that this pandemic will be eradicated soon in this country and everywhere in the world.”

Many senior health officials also took part in the ceremony to honour the nurses and paramedics.

Thank you dinners

Mathew said 1,000 more nurses working with various clinics and hospitals were also felicitated with gift vouchers and special iftars.

“The spouses of many of our employees and friends from my church are nurses. So, I wanted to felicitate them and their colleagues too. We sent Carrefour gift vouchers and arranged iftar delivery for those on duty,” he said.

Nurses enjoying a dinner together
Two nurses enjoying dinner hosted by a Dubai restaurant chain Image Credit: Supplied

Meanwhile, a restaurant chain in Dubai, which owns the Golden Fork and Uppum Mulakum restaurants, invited nurses to have complimentary dinners.

“We paid tributes to more than 100 nurses with free meals last night. We had advertised about this on our social media pages and got enquiries and bookings. Some of them wanted home delivery and many of them came over,” said Shanavas Mohammed, the owner of the chain.

School girl’s salute

Knowledge and Human Development retweeted a video of a Dubai school girl, who recovered from coronavirus, thanking the nurses.

The senior school student of GEMS Our Own Indian School is seen showering words of praise on nurses for their high dedication and love for their profession.

“Nurses always hold an important place in our hearts. And during this pandemic situation, their place is something really special.”

“Recently I had been admitted to the hospital as I tested positive for COVID and I have seen how dedicated they are towards our wellness and our health. Thank you all nurses. Dear all nurses, all we would like to say is do take care of your health and we want to see that smile on your face,” she added.

Standing ovation at airport

Officials of the Indian Consulate in Dubai along with Dubai Airports also gave a standing ovation to nurses of Dubai Health Authority who have been screening hundreds of passengers taking special repatriation flights back to India.

In a tweet while reposting photos of the 88 Indian nurses who have been flown in to help in UAE’s battle against COVID-19, the consulate said: “On #InternationalNursesDay we wholeheartedly salute dedication of all healthcare workers who are frontline warriors in battle against coronavirus.”

The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi also tweeted: “On #InternationalNursesDay2020, big thanks to all the nurses and #FrontLineHeroes for their selfless services and sacrifices, every day and especially during this #coronavirus pandemic.”

Motivational message

It is not just on the World Nurses Day that the UAE leadership has appreciated and acknowledged the role of nurses.

On April 27, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, praised Hamda Al Doubi, a young Emirati nurse for her role on the frontline of the nation’s defence against coronavirus.

Almost two weeks prior to that, several nurses and other healthcare workers received a personalised thank you message from the UAE’s Mother of the Nation, Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

On this year’s Nurses Day, several nurses like Sunitha Gopi, a nurse manager with a private healthcare group in Dubai, said the thank you message from “Mother” Shaikha Fatima, was the biggest appreciation they received during the pandemic.

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Nurse Sunitha Gopi says the thank you message from Shaikha Fatima is the most cherished appreciation during COVID-19 pandemic

“The SMS message to “my daughter Sunitha Gopi” from “your mother Fatima bint Mubarak,” is indeed the most cherished appreciation I have received. For me and several others, who received this personalised message, it is indeed a big source of motivation to face all the challenges in serving this country during this pandemic,” Sunitha told Gulf News.