x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

‘The centre is close so I think, why not just drop in?'

Visitors roam the hallways of the Bani Yas clinic freely, examining posters for hand hygiene and immunisation, or checking to see who is new at the nurse¿s station so they can introduce themselves.

The nurse manager, Sharon Prinsloo, centre, and charge nurse Duaa Hussain chat with a patient at the women's waiting area in the health centre.
The nurse manager, Sharon Prinsloo, centre, and charge nurse Duaa Hussain chat with a patient at the women's waiting area in the health centre.

BANI YAS // Duaa Hussain, the charge nurse at the Bani Yas Primary Health Care Centre, has noticed that the women of the area sometimes look forward to falling sick, if only for an excuse to drop by the clinic.

"Sometimes they come for the silliest complaints, like itching eyes or hair [falling out] or a zit on their face, but they convince their husbands to bring them here and then once they are here, they know we will take them seriously," she said.

Visitors roam the hallways of the clinic freely, examining posters for hand hygiene and immunisation, or checking to see who is new at the nurse's station so they can introduce themselves.

Umm Mohammed, together with her four children, said that she drops by at least once a week, if not more.

"There is always something wrong with one of the children, and the clinic is close and a pleasant place to be, so I always think, why not just drop by?" she said. "The doctors and nurses are always offering something new, maybe a new test or information or a way for me to take care of my kids better, so it's always good to stop by and see what's new."

Running into her neighbours is almost guaranteed.

"Sometimes we even plan to come here together to save us separate trips, and we just get breakfast or lunch for the kids from the cafeteria," Ms Mohammed said.

Umm Nasser, 34, an Emirati teacher, said there is a downside to the popularity of the centre. "It is always so crowded here, and there is always such a long wait to see a doctor. Not all of us want to sit around and socialise and waste our day," she said.

Ms Hussain said that in her 10 years of nursing, she has never seen an environment so conducive to patient education.

"We would be idiots not to take the opportunity to constantly talk to the patients about the preventative health measures they can do before they ever need treatment," she said.

"It's like a gift, they come to us without us having to chase them."

hkhalaf@thenational.ae