x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Red Crescent delivers money and medicine to labourers

The UAE Red Crescent Authority is delivering more medical assistance to about 100 workers whose employer abandoned them.

ABU DHABI // The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) is delivering more medical assistance to about 100 workers whose employer abandoned them at a labour camp in Musaffah nearly six months ago. Yesterday, the RCA also gave each worker Dh1,000 (US$272) after Salem al Suwaidi, the head of humanitarian aid in the RCA's Abu Dhabi branch, verified their names and nationalities.

Most seemed eager to send some of the money home. "I need to send something for my children," said Noor Mohammed, from India. "After one year, it is about time to send something back. I can manage here somehow, but my main concern continues to be my family back home. "Because the Red Crescent has also given us food, I can afford to send this money home." In less than a week, the RCA has provided the workers with a number of essential goods, including food and household cleaning products. And a doctor working with the charity has visited the camp several times.

On a visit to the camp several days ago, Mohamed Shemis, a doctor with the RCA, conducted a health survey in which workers complained of a variety of medical problems including joint inflammation, the result of improper care after work-site accidents, the doctor said. He noted that most of the workers suffered from diabetes and that their conditions were exacerbated by their sedentary lifestyle over the past several months and a lack of proper medical care for more than a year.

"There is no management of diabetes, which is because of nutritional imbalance also. But for many of these people, they have gone without a prescription for too long," he said. "There are also many cases of hypertension due to poor diet. "Because of their living conditions and the conditions they have been in for such a long time, they are also susceptible to a variety of infections, such as the flu and respiratory ailments."Dr Shemis was accompanied by Mohamed Billeh, an eye specialist from the RCA's relief and emergency department.

Dr Billeh provided 25 workers with glasses and said a number had poor eyesight that was attributable to poor nutrition. "There were a lot of them complaining of poor vision or disturbance when reading, as well as dryness, which is a result of the environment they live in." "They have more problems due to the long time that they have been without check-ups. They need thorough check-ups, and a lot of the eye disorders can be related to diabetes."

Dr Billeh referred one of the workers, Basant Maurya, 49, to the Red Crescent eye team for surgery to remove a cataract that was clouding the vision in his right eye. The surgery is "sutureless and takes about 10 minutes", Dr Billeh said. "If this is not rectified, he will suffer from the same condition in his other eye also." Doctors would check the workers again to identify any eye-related disorders that were connected with diabetes, he said.

"The way they live, they work, what they eat," said Dr Billeh, "all contribute to diabetes and eye conditions." Sudhir Shetty, the chief operating officer with responsibility for global operations at UAE Exchange, a money transfer operation, said the company would make it easier for the stranded workers to send money home. sbhattacharya@thenational.ae