Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 February 2020

Crown Prince thanks family of Abu Dhabi's first doctors

Pat and Marian Kennedy’s clinic delivered thousands of Emirati babies, including Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed in 1961

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi has met the family of the emirate’s first doctors, six decades after they brought healthcare to thousands of Emiratis.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, welcomed relatives of Pat and Marian Kennedy to the Sea Palace on Tuesday.

The American couple founded Oasis Hospital in 1960, a time when maternal and infant mortality was dire. The facility was this week renamed Kanad Hospital after the Kennedys.

“I had the pleasure of meeting the children and grandchildren of Dr Pat and Marian Kennedy, who founded the Kanad Hospital in Al Ain,” Sheikh Mohamed wrote on Twitter.

“Their great service to the people of the region and contribution to developing primary health care are much appreciated.”

At the Sea Palace Barza, Sheikh Mohamed introduced the Kennedys to the rest of his guests.

"For those of you who don't know who these people are, their grandparents came to this country and have great merit.

"They approached Sheikh Zayed [about establishing the hospital]in the late 1950s.

"They came to this country when there was no petrol, no hope of petrol, no Adia [Abu Dhabi Investment Authority - the sovereign wealth fund], but they came and settled and now more than 100,000 children have been born at their hospital. We thank them for this."

The Kennedys were invited to open the clinic by Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Shakhbut, after the two men saw the standards in American-run hospitals in Bahrain and Muscat.

At the time, only 50 per cent of Emirati babies survived and one in three mothers died during childbirth.

Crude birthing methods, such as using rock salt to treat bleeding in new mothers, left some infertile or fighting infection.

The couple lived with their children Kathleen, Nancy, Scott and Douglas, and worked in Al Ain until 1975, improving the health of many thousands of Emiratis.

Updated: December 25, 2019 12:02 PM

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