Fifteen needy patients, all expatriates, have undergone free heart surgeries at Al Qasimi Hospital costing Dh15 million, as part of the Year of Giving initiative that started this year.
The surgeries were given to patients of different age groups and nationalities and those with limited means of income over the past months.
A few patients are still admitted to the hospital and are awaiting surgeries that will take place in a couple of days, said Dr Aref Al Nooriani, executive director of Al Qasimi Hospital.
"Most of the patients who underwent the surgeries were fitted with stents and others with pacemakers," he said, adding that all procedures and medical equipment was provided free of charge to them.
The surgeries are part of the declaration of the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who declared 2017 as the Year of Giving.
Recently, the hospital also organised the Day of Giving at the hospital and dedicated it to cardiac patients.
"The surgeries required included cardiac catheterisation and fixing of stents and treatment of other cardiac ailments that required surgery," said Dr Yousef Al Sarkal, assistant undersecretary, hospital sector at Ministry of Health and Prevention.
"Open heart surgeries will be performed on a few other patients soon," he said, adding that the costs of these surgeries will be handled by charities.
"The ministry launched this initiative at the beginning of this year with an aim of providing free-of-charge assistance to the largest number of non-Emirati patients as possible especially those with a limited income and cannot afford medication costs," he added.
Heart patients' group is the most in need of assistance due to high costs of medication and surgeries. "This particularly impacts the low income people," said Mohammed Abdullah Al Zarooni, director of Sharjah Medical Zone.
"The Sharjah Medical Zone continues support for the patients and the needy as part of the initiatives of the health ministry in giving a helping hand to the patients," he said.
The Sharjah Charity House Foundation donated Dh1.2 million in support of these patients. The funds were used in check-ups and to cover surgery costs.
"We received as many as 221 patients at the charity clinics of hospitals under the Sharjah Medical Zone until June this year. The clinics helped the needy expatriate patients at both Al Qasimi and Kuwaiti hospitals at a total cost of Dh250,000," he added.
The UAE Red Crescent, Sharjah branch also provided medicine stocks and the required medical equipment for frequently visiting patients at the clinics costing Dh250,000.
Dr Noriani explained that the pacemaker and defibrillator costs between Dh40,000 to 70,000 depending on each case.
"Most catheterisations were performed using the robot, the da Vinci surgical system, and are conducted in four operation theatres simultaneously," he explained.
Cardiovascular disease remains the top causes of death in the UAE accounting to 25 per cent of deaths.