Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

CORONAVIRUS

'We are honoured': UAE frontline heroes on care programme for 80,000

A selection of the most vital workers will be informed this week of their position on a special registry

Frontline workers who have battled the coronavirus pandemic spoke of their pride on Tuesday, after being selected for a network that will offer support, financial benefits and recognition.

A care programme was set out on Monday, which includes a registry of more than 80,000 professionals deemed essential in the fight against Covid-19.

The list includes healthcare practitioners, cleaners, nurses, police, essential service providers, volunteers, sanitation personnel, among others.

Nurse Jessica Bonacua was seconded to Sharjah's field hospital in the Expo Centre. She worked 12-hour shifts with Covid patients and spent three months in a hotel, away from her husband and children. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Nurse Jessica Bonacua was seconded to Sharjah's field hospital in the Expo Centre. She worked 12-hour shifts with Covid patients and spent three months in a hotel, away from her husband and children. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Nurse Jessica Bonacua, 39, was told this week that she was among the 80,000, for her work at the Sharjah Expo Centre field hospital.

“I feel like I am appreciated,” she told The National.

“We were dealing with Covid-19 patients every day in 12-hour shifts, we had to live in a hotel for three months and I was away from my husband and kids.

"With this recognition and the benefits the project is promising, it’s an honour for all of us.”

Those on the registry will receive support from the government and private sector. Mental health services and schooling assistance is expected to be provided where needed.

Ms Bonacua and her family would benefit from school fees support, as her two children have been homeschooled due to recent financial troubles.

Yousra Elawany, 37, has been chosen for her volunteering work with a Covid-19 investigation team that traced the spread of cases.

She is also the school doctor at Dubai’s Modern Skills School and began volunteering in April.

“I’m a doctor today, but maybe one day I’ll be a patient. So, I can only hope on that day someone would help me,” said Dr Elawany.

Her duties included tracking Covid-19 cases as part of an investigation team. Later, she was moved to labour accommodation, looking at the safety measures being taken there.

“The experience changed a lot for me, as I’m sure it did for everyone else,” said Dr Elawany. “It was especially difficult for my two children who had to manage e-learning mostly on their own.”

"The professionals in the registry will be informed of their inclusion in the programme by government officials later this week.

Updated: September 9, 2020 10:36 AM

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