The Pakistan Medical Centre in Dubai has helped thousands of patients by offering free medical care.
Nearly 2,500 people have visited the centre since it opened in October 2020. The majority received free help while others were given a discount, said Dr Nasim Sabir, the centre's medical director.
The Dh20 million non-profit healthcare centre is overseen by the Pakistan Association Dubai and is open to all.
Shagufta Nasreen, 39, a single mother in Dubai, sought help from the facility for her son Ghazi, 14, who has type 1 diabetes.
He received free examinations and the centre now delivers medicine and insulin to his home.
“It was really difficult to afford all of this on my own,” said Ms Nasreen, who earns about Dh700 a month from a small catering business she runs from her home.
“The cost of all of the tests, medicine and insulin was coming to thousands of dirhams. I don’t even earn Dh1,000 per month; how would we afford to cover those costs? We’re very thankful to the Pakistan Medical Centre for helping us.”
Dubai resident Nighat Farooqi, 65, also approached the centre.
Suffering from osteoarthritis and thyroid problems, Ms Farooqi had several check-ups and tests, and was given medicine, including an injection she has to take every six months.
“I have unbearable pain because of the osteoarthritis. It causes so much pain in my bones and muscles, it’s difficult to move,” she said.
Ms Farooqi – a widow – moved to the UAE 40 years ago.
She worked as a teacher for several decades before retiring. Her daughter supported her, but she lost her job in the aviation sector less than a year ago.
“We manage to arrange money for food somehow, but the rest is incredibly difficult,” Ms Farooqi said.
The centre is supported by individuals and the Community Development Authority in Dubai.
It has also partnered with private hospitals, such as Mediclinic Middle East and American Hospital.
"Pakistan Medical Centre is a multi-speciality polyclinic offering services [such as] paediatrics, dental, women's health, cardiology, orthopaedics, physiotherapy, among many others," Dr Sabir said.
“We also educate our patients and advise them on managing their lifestyle and preventing disease.”
The centre treats patients with acute and chronic medical problems and provides referrals for those who need further treatment.
“Patients who are unable [to pay] are given free treatment and there is no discrimination,” said Dr Sabir, who is a pathologist and microbiologist.
“We have a very transparent welfare process and a welfare officer is on our premises at all times who evaluates the patient's financial status and provides support.
“The decisions are made solely on humanitarian grounds and we ensure no deserving patient is turned away. The project is a model of tolerance from the Pakistani community and is in line with the vision of the UAE government of tolerance and inclusion.”
Located in Oud Mehta, the centre can be reached on 04 337 3632.