Dubai: As you celebrate Eid Al Fitr spare a thought for those who have to work over the holidays in order to keep the country ticking.

Emergency duty

Dr Mohammad Hassan Kazia, originally from India, is one of six emergency duty doctors, all Muslims who will be working in groups of three on the first and second days of Eid at Prime Hospital in Garhoud.

Dr Mohammad Hassan Kazia
Dr Mohammad Hassan Kazia Image Credit: Supplied

“For all of us duty comes first,” he said. “Much as I would like to spend Eid with my parents, wife and two children, I realise, that during Eid there is a greater responsibility on the Emergency section as the Out Patient Department (OPD) is closed for the festival. All of us doctors sign on the rota sheet and take up duty on either the first or second day because that is the right thing to do,” he added.

Working a 12-hour shift from 6am to 6pm, he said: “I drove to the hospital immediately after offering Eid prayers. Usually on the first day of Eid the rush to the emergency is double as we get a high number of gastro intestinal cases with festive eating. Seeing as the OPD is closed, even routine cuts, fractures, and small wound cases report to emergency.”

He said that by lunch he had already seen 20 patients and from this, one was admitted for an emergency appendectomy. “As the day progresses the numbers will go up,” he said.

Dr Kazia said he planned to usher in celebrations in the evening with a family dinner at his sister’s place.

“Once I return home and have rested a bit, I will be ready to celebrate with family. But work is celebration too as it is important to bring back smiles to the face of the patient’s family,” he added.

Reem Yousuf, an emergency nurse manager at Emirates Speciality Hospital in Dubai Health Care City, who is originally from Lebanon, opted to work all three days of Eid despite being seven months pregnant with her first child. On all three days she will be putting in 12-hour shifts starting from 7am.

Reem Yousuf
Reem Yousuf Image Credit: Supplied

“I love my work and I would feel odd if I did not put in these hours,” she said. “I always tell everyone, even though it’s Eid, people still get sick and they need help.

“We had over 10 cases in the first half of the first day and at least one patient was in a serious condition and had to be rushed to the operation theatre. I think someone has got to serve the patients,” added Yousuf, who credits her understanding family for their support.

“My husband, Fadl understands the demands of my job,” she said. “When my mother called this morning on video chat she was surprised to see me in scrubs, getting ready for surgery, but she’s also very proud and supportive of my work,” she added.

“All I want to do when I reach home in the evening is to put up my feet and rest for sometime, before I go out for dinner with my husband,” she said.

Shops and sales

Others working on Eid were Rasheed Aykaparak, a vegetable shop owner from India.

Rasheed Aykaparak
Rasheed Aykaparak Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

“It’s very quiet and there’s not a lot of customers during this time so it’s not a big problem for me to be working,” he said. “Even though it is a holiday we can’t shut everything down, so if I can be of assistance to some residents who are on their holiday then I am very happy to help them,” he added.

Abdul Ghanee, a bakery worker from Afghanistan, agreed: “Today is just like any other day for me when it comes to work, I don’t have a holiday and I am on duty doing my job. There are people visiting the bakery to buy bread for Eid as they have guests coming to their homes to celebrate, and so I’m happy to serve them if it means I can help them have an enjoyable holiday.”

Abdul Ghanee
Abdul Ghanee Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Zaheer Zafar, an electronics shop salesperson, said: “I had the day off today but I decided to come and work anyway, I didn’t want to stay in the home just sleeping and so I thought it would be better to come to the shop and do something. I’ll take my holiday from the second and third day of Eid, working for one day during the holiday isn’t the end of the world, I honestly feel good to be in the shop.”

Zaheer Zafar
Zaheer Zafar Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News