In line with the Year of Giving, the ‘Aster Volunteers’ programme seeks to bridge the gap between people who would like to help and with those in need, across the nine markets where the company operates in through a web portal platform www.astervolunteers.com.
On the World Humanitarian Day today, UAE’s home-grown brand Aster Volunteers shares with Khaleej Times the efforts put in by the health provider’s volunteers in the last few months, which have made a significant impact in multiple geographies through a number of activities.
Dr Azad Moopen, founder, chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, said: “First and foremost as a doctor, I recognise this as a time when we have to come together and combine our efforts to give back to the society and help those in need. This has been our core vision behind introducing the Aster@30 and Aster Volunteers programmes globally, which identify the needs of the local community and provides medical/non-medical support to address them.”
Aster DM Healthcare announced the launch of the ‘Aster Volunteers’ programme as part of the milestone ‘Aster@30’ campaign marking their 30th anniversary. In line with the Year of Giving, the ‘Aster Volunteers’ programme seeks to bridge the gap between people who would like to help and with those in need, across the nine markets where the company operates in through a web portal platform www.astervolunteers.com.
The volunteers come from all walks of life and are not exclusively medical-related.
“We have volunteers providing medical support to refugees in Jordan, doctors conducting free surgeries for the economically disadvantaged and people being trained on basic life support technique. In partnership with Government of Dubai’s Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF), Salma Humanitarian Relief Programme is helping us in providing humanitarian aid in drought and famine affected Somalia,” Dr Moopen said.
Volunteers at refugee camps
Dr Basel Obeidat, general practitioner at Aster DM Healthcare and an Aster volunteer in Jordan’s Al Zaatari, Al Azraq and Erbid refugee camps, explained: “As doctors, our role is to serve our patients. We are dedicated to improving the lives of the unfortunate victims of crisis in Syria, who are living in these camps. We have extended our services at the camps on a rotation basis. Having the opportunity to provide care to people in need and being able to positively impact their lives is a truly fulfilling experience.
Some of the activities implemented by the volunteers that have started bearing fruit include helping people with medical aid and food aid. This includes three permanent medical aid camps set-up and running in Jordan and Somalia for refugees.
Aster DM Healthcare has set up medical aid missions in the refugee camps in Jordan through the deployment of its volunteers as per the guidelines of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Over the last three months, 2,019 people have benefitted from the healthcare services provided.
Basic life support training
Between January and July 2017, Aster provided basic life support (BLS) education across labour accommodations in the GCC, India and the Philippines, offering trainings on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – an easy-to-learn life-saving technique that can dramatically increase the chances of surviving a heart attack. Till date, 21,216 people have benefited from the training.
Aster has devoted paramedics and doctors to respond to requests via astervolunteers.com, who conduct the training for volunteers. They provide instruction in BLS and wider awareness sessions, in addition to utilising free consultations and other forms of medical aid via Dr Aster Mobile Clinic. Through this training initiative, Aster aims to rapidly increase the number of medically capable volunteers they put into the field.
Humanitarian Aid in Somalia (Aster Volunteers for Africa)
In order to provide support to those in Somalia affected by famine, Aster has signed an agreement with AMAF to provide over 155,000 halal meals. Valued at Dh1.5 million, the funding for the meals was raised through contributions from Aster employees. The humanitarian aid has already reached Somalia and is expected to be distributed in the upcoming weeks.
“Today, Aster Volunteers as a programme has been able to empower those who want to help the society by connecting them through our initiatives to people in need. On occasion of the World Humanitarian Day, we call upon everyone to join our cause and provide a healing touch to the lives of people around the world,” Dr Moopen added.
Free diagnostics and surgeries
As part of the volunteers programme, Aster DM Healthcare is providing a number of free surgeries as well as advanced diagnostics services.
One of the beneficiary patients is Agnes, an 88-year-old woman from Bengaluru, India, who suffered a broken leg from a fall. She was brought to Aster CMI Hospital Bengaluru where she underwent surgery free of charge, and was also provided free medical care.
Sharing her experience, Agnes said: “The doctors and the nurses have been so good to me since I was admitted to the hospital. I am so grateful to them for their tireless work and the support they have given me. The fact that I would otherwise not have been able to afford such high quality treatment makes Aster Volunteers a real blessing.”
Another beneficiary of the Aster Volunteer programme said: “My father had been suffering from cardiac problem for many years. Due to financial problems, he was not able to afford an angiogram. But then Aster Volunteers performed the angiogram free of charge. With the help, support and guidance of Dr Vinod and his team at Aster MIMS Kottakkal, my dad underwent the procedure, and is on his way to better health.”