A UAE hospital group has said it will provide 10 years of financial support for the families of medics who died on the front line battling Covid-19.
Aster DM Healthcare is one of the larger healthcare service providers operating in the GCC region, and with an emerging presence in India.
The company operates 27 hospitals, 115 clinics and 225 pharmacies, with more than 21,000 employees.
These include more than 2,880 doctors, 6,280 nurses and some 11,000 support staff.
Of the 5,150 or so Aster DM Healthcare health professionals to have contracted the virus, five have died.
Their families will now be supported with a 10-year financial plan to help ease them through the pain of losing a loved one and the income they provided, said the company.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Aster DM Healthcare has treated 28,000 Covid-19 patients and screened more than 1,662,726 people across seven countries in the Middle East, plus India.
"Our dedicated staff have been the real heroes in this battle against Covid-19, who put the needs of the patients ahead of their own lives," Dr Azad Moopen, chairman of Aster DM Healthcare, said.
"While most of the infected staff are back to work to continue the battle – although exhausted – a few of them have succumbed to the sinister monster.
"They have unfortunately left behind families, with wives, children and ageing parents."
Their dependents will continue to receive the monthly basic salary of the deceased employee for the next 10 years.
The initiative will also provide assistance to staff who are currently seriously ill with complications resulting from the virus.
It is applicable to all Aster DM Healthcare employees in India and GCC countries.
In February, the Aster-run critical care unit in Muhaisnah in Dubai was converted to a dedicated Covid-19 facility to treat patients suffering with severe symptoms.
The 50-bed unit became a hub for specialist care covering the Sonapur area of Dubai for those requiring oxygen and ventilator support.
Aster's financial support for dependents of deceased staff will be a lifeline for some families.
"While praying for their departed souls, we thought that we should provide the families some support as many of those who died were the sole breadwinners for their families," Dr Moopen said.
“These people are irreplaceable and they will always remain close to our hearts.
"We will always remain grateful for their contribution to Aster and the society and this is the least we can do to support their families who have been dealt with the hardest blow of their lives.
“We truly hope that this provides them with some support and solace in these difficult times.”