Dubai: A newly-wed woman, mothers who said emotional farewell to their kids and sons who left their aged parents to fend for themselves - these are some of the first batch of 88 male and female Indian nurses who started their work on Tuesday to help the UAE fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team of nurses arrived in the UAE from India early this month to help the Gulf nation combat the coronavirus. The nurses are from Aster DM Healthcare hospitals in the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
After a week of quarantine and another round of COVID-19 negative results, the nurses began an orientation programme on Sunday. The deployment to their assigned facilities began on Tuesday.
"A large number of them are going to hospitals under the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). The DHA is also supporting some private players (healthcare groups) by deputing these nurses to places where there is a requirement. It is important that we support each other now," Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, told the Gulf News.
The nurses from India voluntarily took up the challenge of battling coronavirus abroad for three to six months despite their personal circumstances.
Ashly Jayson, 25, is one of the youngest in the team, is a newly-wedded COVID warrior from Kerala. She credits her husband for allowing her to join the unique health mission.
"He is also a socially committed person. He has worked to promote the Kerala government's 'Break the Chain' awareness campaign, sometimes using my pictures. For each and every nurse, this is a challenging situation worldwide," she told the Dubai-based English daily over phone.
Stephanie Newton from Aster Bangalore left behind her three children, including the youngest who turned one this month. She said goodbye to them before leaving them in the care of her family.
"As nurses we need to take up our job with a smiling face and we are here to help people suffering from a deadly disease. Though we have our own concerns, we need to remain courageous and I am thankful that my husband and eldest son are very supportive," she said.
Varsha Kanitakar from Maharashtra could not even say goodbye to her only son, aged nine, as he was away with his father in Karnataka.
"It took time for me to convince my husband to let me come. My family will face the challenge of handling my son without me when he has to get back to school," she said.
Sijo Thomas has left behind his aged parents. The only son to his parents, Sijo faced a dilemma of convincing them before he set out on the mission, the report said.
"All patients are equal for nurses. We should be ready to provide our care wherever it is necessary. We can't choose the cases. I am really grateful for getting this opportunity to serve people who need our care the most," he said. The nurses had arrived in the UAE amid a surge in the number of COVID-19 infections in the Gulf nation.
The novel coronavirus which originated in Wuhan in December last year has claimed 318,851 lives and infected over 4.8 million people globally, according to Johns Hopkins University data.