The doctor confirmed it was a bone fissure. So she wore a splint and went back to work straightaway.
The director of Abu Dhabi Police’s medical services department contracted Covid-19 in the line of duty. But that wasn’t when the virus took its toll on her. Colonel Thuraya Ali Al Hashemi said she worked for two months straight without a day off at the start of the outbreak. But that didn’t affect her either.
“My management urged me to take a few days, but I couldn’t – this was my duty,” said Colonel Thuraya. “But one day, a couple of weeks after I returned from quarantine, I collapsed on the office stairs.”
But she brushed the pain off her injured hand and went back to work, leading the fight against Covid-19 across all Abu Dhabi Police’s facilities.
“The pain was getting worse by the day,” she said. “So, after three weeks I went to a doctor who sent me for an X-ray and confirmed it was a bone fissure. She said I had to wear a splint, so I did, and I went back to work straight away.
“I was proud carrying out my responsibilities like everyone else in my team and wanted to stay on the front line. Everybody was doing their part, day and night, and I was proud to work with the medical staff I met during this challenge. They demonstrated extraordinary efforts.”
The officer’s Covid-19 journey began in February 2020. After an initial heads-up from her top management, senior staff were called to a meeting in the operations centre at the Department of Health. Dr Mattar Al Nouaimi, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre and Director of the Emergency and Disaster Management Division, explained that the novel coronavirus outbreak in China meant the world would soon be facing an unprecedented challenge.
Colonel Thuraya said: “That meeting was on a Thursday at noon and we had to devise a plan that would start on Sunday. We had two days to manage that. When I drove back home that night I felt stressed and had to develop a comprehensive plan and strategy that covered team members’ training, resources and equipment that would help us lead the fight against Covid-19 in all our departments and facilities, including punitive and correctional establishments.”
The operation included opening three clinics in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra; forming seven teams in punitive and correctional establishments; sourcing testing equipment; and equipping staff with PPE gear.
“But it was the staff themselves who deserve credit for all the hard work,” Colonel Thuraya said. “I am honoured today to be able to speak on behalf of all my colleagues and friends who have held hands with me for the past eight months to create a shield that has helped others.”
She hailed the formation of the Frontline Heroes Office. “There is no doubt that the Frontline Heroes Office will be of great benefit to many people who deserve the recognition and support it will offer.”
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