On World Health Day today, let's celebrate the heroes

Medical professionals worldwide are saving millions of lives and have rightly become the celebrated soldiers in the global fight against Covid-19

Provided illustration of 
Abu Dhabi, UAE 20th August 2013: The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) has announced that the expansion and renovation of the emergency room (ER) at Al Rahba Hospital will begin shortly following approval by the Executive Committee of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

Courtesy SEHA  *** Local Caption ***  b0222.jpg
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Like everyone around me, I am watching the news and seeing how our world is changing before our eyes. Our economies, communities, healthcare and policy decisions are adapting at an accelerated pace to respond to the new realities we face.

Our current health crisis coincides this year with World Health Day — established by the UN to celebrate the efforts of our nurses worldwide and highlight their role in protecting our health and well-being.

More than ever before, their role in combatting one of our biggest challenges in modern history is at the fore. Nurses, with other medical professionals worldwide, are saving millions of lives and have rightly become the celebrated soldiers in this global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

On this day, it is therefore vital we reflect not only on our frontline employees at Seha but the support of our leadership in implementing policies and regulations to protect the well-being of our home, the UAE. Our collective efforts have been applauded by the World Health Organisation, several countries’ governments, and the wider UAE community. Together, we will not only get through Covid-19, but we will rise from it with many learnings and more gratitude for everyday life.

Health is not just about the individual, it is about the health of communities, teams and partnerships

Throughout my career, I have witnessed and experienced many outbreaks, and also contributed to reversing the adverse effects. The Covid-19 pandemic is a new kind of challenge for all of us, but when I look around at my colleagues, I cannot be prouder of our team and full of hope that together our response will address the challenges effectively and quickly.

In collaboration with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health, my team focused on our values and what drives our success. People, whether it be our patients or employees, are at the heart of everything we do at Seha. With that in mind, we developed initiatives to protect our community and build on our track record of excellence.

Dedicating hospitals to quarantine and treat Covid-19 patients was one of our first initiatives, so Al Rahba Hospital and Al Ain Hospital were optimised to become equipped with the most advanced diagnostics and capabilities to protect the well-being of the community.

In parallel, we focused more on our telemedicine services to ensure that our patients received their scheduled and prescribed medications without disruption, as well as remote medical services to maintain continuity in the level of care to which they are accustomed.

Then, we launched the Seha WhatsApp hotline to respond to the Abu Dhabi community's questions, ensuring that only the most accurate information is delivered.

Most recently, we were proud to launch the UAE’s first, and the world’s fifth, drive-through facility, which was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

But the key takeaway from all of the above is that none of this would have been possible without collective efforts, whether through partnership with government, collaboration and innovation across teams or the support of the community. The solidarity witnessed has been underpinned by initiatives and committees launched in collaboration with multiple ministries including health, education and economy, to ensure that impact on day to day life is minimised.

On World Health Day, and in the midst of our current challenges, it is therefore vital that we remember that health is not just about the individual, it is about the health of communities, teams and partnerships.

The entire process of combating this virus, has inspired us all to be focused and dig deep into our reserves of positivity and resilience. After all, there is a better tomorrow, but only when we unite to remember our heroes in the health sectors, and across our communities.

We will get through this because we can, and because we believe in each other. This crisis will be behind us, when we unite as a community and protect one another. And in the face of what can feel quite bleak, I believe we can see beauty in the power of unity and collective effort.

For me and our team at Seha, World Health Day, with its focus on the healthcare heroes amongst us, is an important moment.

I hope everyone in the community will join in celebrating their inspiring dedication.

Dr Gareth Goodier is the group chief executive officer of Seha