The Dh20 million project of Pakistan Association Dubai – Pakistan Medical Centre (PMC) – has now acquired a DHA licence and all other necessary permissions. It is the region’s first healthcare centre put together by any expat community, and open to all nationalities.
The facility is part of a larger project of Pakistan Centre, the world’s largest community centre for overseas Pakistanis, and serves as an outpatient polyclinic.
The project includes the medical centre, the Health and Fitness Centre, Hub47 (business incubation centre), gift shop (platform for women entrepreneurs where they can display their products donating the proceeds to the centre), Brick Café, Arts Corner, seminar room, prayer rooms, and the admin block.
Dr Nasim Sabir, medical director at PMC, said the centre is based on the model of tolerance, compassion and respect. “PMC works on a hybrid model that will offer free services to deserving members of the society, and will also cater to self-paying patients and people with insurances. We have specialist doctors volunteering their time and skills, and also in-house laboratory and radiology services that will subsidise the total cost of the treatment,” he said.
PMC has its own full-time staff across different nationalities other than volunteering doctors that provide its services. “Medical professionals of various nationalities have shown interest to volunteer at PMC. Around 150 doctors have already pledged to support to join PMC part-time and they will procure a licence soon,” he said.
Dr Sabir said the centre is also collaborating with different hospitals, some even in Pakistan, to help patients who cannot get their treatment done here in the UAE. “If a patient requires a certain service that is not available with us, we will guide them on how they will receive the right medical help.
Apart from dental services, sample collection, ultrasound and x-ray rooms, the new centre offers 14 clinical specialities such as gynaecology, paediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, endocrinology, ophthalmology, ENT, orthopaedic, dermatology, cardiology among others.
“We are not-for-profit but we are not free and have a Shariah-compliant pathway for using Zakat eligibility. Our welfare committee will verify the genuineness of the need and offer the required support. We are offering free consultations during this first month of our launch and throughout the year we will run various campaigns,” Dr Sabir said.
For now, PMC is accepting only cash payments for tests and insurance cards will be accepted soon, he added.
“The entire project has cost us D20 million; the support has come in the form of finances and in-kind i.e. equipment and furniture from corporate partners,” said Muhsin Al Banna, general secretary of PAD.
Al Banna added that 90 per cent of the support has come from within the Pakistani community and the rest from the non-Pakistani community.
Notable celebrities including poet Anwar Maqsood, actor Bushra Ansari, and cricketer Shahid Afridi had campaigned for the project by doing multiple events.
Dr Faisel Ikram, PAD President, said in the last four years, PAD discovered philanthropists and social workers who strongly believe in making an impact. “We are grateful to the Community Development Authority (CDA) for continuously facilitating our campaigns and guiding us in this journey of creating a social impact,” he said.
The Dar al Ber Society is the local charity of PAD and PMC.
Why PMC was formed
Over the period of the last 10 years, the medical wing of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) has held free medical camps on the last Friday of every month providing free consultations, diagnostic support, and medicines to the deserving members of the community. The doctors and healthcare professionals involved were all volunteers that realised once-a-month free medical camp was not enough, and a permanent healthcare facility was required.
Pakistan Centre and Pakistan Medical Centre have been built on the land gifted by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1973.
Own a brick at PMC
The journey which started as an ‘Own a Brick’ campaign in 2016 culminated a massive response from individuals and corporates with the project ready to open doors soon. The project has been under the patronage of the Community Development Authority (CDA).
The ‘Own A Brick’ campaign has come to an end and we have now launched the ‘Brick A Month’ campaign, which will support the operations of the PMC. The five types of bricks are categorised in different colours and gives each member of the community a chance to contribute monthly or as per their convenience. PAD has always been a strong advocate of inclusivity and this campaign is a reflection of it.
August 14, 2016: Pakistan Medical Centre project launch
August 14, 2018: Foundation stone was laid by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan
August 14, 2020: Virtual inauguration of the centre