More than 80,000 frontline workers who are deemed essential to the fight against coronavirus have been identified for a new nationwide programme.
A registry will contain the specialisms of each professional, providing the government with a "detailed national picture of all those who serve on the front line".
The project, overseen by the Frontline Heroes Office, will ensure there is a support system in place and benefits for their families.
Among the 80,000 are healthcare practitioners, police, essential service providers, crisis managers, security and emergency service providers, humanitarian agencies, sanitation personnel and volunteers.
“Our frontline heroes make the choice every day to put their own health and well-being at risk to protect the lives of people across our nation," said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon, chairman of the Frontline Heroes Office.
"We owe it to them to recognise their heroic efforts and ensure we are providing our frontline professionals and their families with the same level of protection and support they offer us.”
The office was set up in July by decree of the President, Sheikh Khalifa, and is under the direction of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
It was given the job of listening and responding to the challenges of frontline professionals, and ensuring they are "nationally recognised and celebrated".
Those on the registry will receive support from government departments and private sector companies.
This is expected to include help with mental health services and schooling, where needed, and extend to benefits and discounts.
The UAE was recently recognised as one of the most effective countries at tackling the pandemic.
It was praised for its swift action, strict rules, adherence to wearing face masks in public, a commitment to mass testing and the ability of the large public and private health sectors to collaborate in handling patients.
Dr Maha Barakat, director general of the Frontline Heroes Office, said the registry was set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic but it would go farther and ensure the UAE was always prepared.
“We must always be prepared and ready to immediately and effectively respond to any crisis or emergency we face today and any time in the future for the protection of our people and our society," Dr Barakat said.
"To help our nation maintain a frontline workforce ready and be able to take on the sacrifices and risks we ask, we owe it to them to ensure they are appropriately recognised and supported by our government and people."
The 80,000 professionals will be informed this week of their inclusion in the registry.
Dr Barakat said the office's first task has been to listen and learn, "to truly understand what matters most to them".
"We need to always work to better understand and respond to the pain points and challenges our frontline heroes face," she said.
"We want to create an environment where these incredibly talented and committed frontline heroes receive the kind of support and recognition that makes them want to continue to build their careers and raise their families here in the UAE."
Abu Dhabi this week set up a hotline – 800 937292 – for people with mental health problems brought about by the pandemic.
Trained professionals will offer essential information and advice, and lend a compassionate ear to people finding it hard to cope.