x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pakistani doctors aim to provide low-cost care

A group of Pakistani doctors plan to open an affordable medical clinic in Dubai for those who struggle to pay for health care.

A group of Pakistani doctors plan to open an affordable medical clinic in Dubai for those who struggle to pay for health care. For more than a year, 70 doctors who form the Pakistani Medical Wing have been holding free sessions for the public at the headquarters of the Pakistan Association in Dubai (Pad). However, without a licence to practice, treatment has been limited. Now, the doctors are applying for a licence to employ a male and female doctor, a dentist and supporting staff for a permanent clinic at Pad's headquarters on Oud Mehta Road.

The clinic will be open to all nationalities. "We feel that the lower segment of the population has limited access to health facilities, particularly the labour class," said Dr Zia ul Hassan, the former president of the group, who remains a member. "They have difficulties in communication and access so a clinic of this kind would better serve such a segment." The clinic would cost at least Dh1 million (US$272,000) to set up, said Zarqa Taimur, the wing's new president.

"At the camp we hold, we are even having middle-class people come to get advice, because a consultation alone can cost up to Dh500," she said. "The clinic would begin next year and we are starting the official plans in the first week of June. We will approach sponsors too. We have the land but need the licensing." "At the moment, we hold a camp and around 150 people come to each one, but it's just for four hours at a time," said Dr Taimur. "Our clinic will not be free but we will be charging the minimum possible rates."

asafdar@thenational.ae