A Dubai nurse was among an elite group recognized for going above and beyond in her work, earning a chance to represent the UAE and a shot at a major global nursing award.
Jasmine Mohammed Sharaf was one of 10 finalists chosen from 24,000 applications across 184 countries, representing the UAE at the first Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award, which carries an impressive $250,000 prize.
The award, handed out at ceremony in Dubai to commemorate International Nurses Day, ultimately went to Kenyan nurse Anna Qabale Duba for her work campaigning against harmful cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutation.
Prior to the ceremony, Jasmine spoke to Livehealthy about the community work she did in Dubai during the Covid-19 pandemic that earned her the nomination.
“It means so much to me that I have reached to this level, and to be with other great nurses who have given so much for their societies and the world,” said Jasmine.
A community nurse for the Dubai Health Authority at Al Khawaneej Health Center, Jasmine worked to help educate low-income workers about the symptoms and risks associated with Covid-19. During the initial stages of Covid-19, Jasmine found that many low-income workers did not know how to isolate themselves or find treatment, so she worked with associations like the World Malayalee Council, Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) and All Kerala Colleges Alumni Forum (AKCAF) to help improve awareness. Jasmine went a stage further too.
“Some people could not afford medications and treatment, so I supported them with my own money and resources. I was also active in distributing kits with food and essentials to those in need during the pandemic and even took people to hospital in the case of emergencies.
“The best moments I’ve had being a nurse are when you are able to help those who had their world falling apart, when you see them smile and find hope. It always brightens my heart when I hear my patients talk about my influence on their life. I’m so glad to see the happiness in people.”
Jasmine faced huge challenges around financing and supporting the project but persevered and found help from other organizations to help continue her work.
“As COVID continued we did not have much cash to proceed with the volunteering services,” she said. “But that did not stop me. I got outside and started asking associations to collaborate with me so that we could together work for my community’s wellbeing. It was definitely a challenge but I kept on trying until I succeeded.”
The Covid-19 pandemic brought greater attention than ever before to healthcare workers, with the public quick to show their gratitude and the Burj Khalifa even lighting up in recognition of their work. Jasmine has been happy to see a growing appreciation for key workers after what has been an incredibly tough couple of years.
“During COVID, I realized how unstable is human life and how unpredictable it is. It was challenging but I’ve learned a lot of new things and been able to influence so many people. I was able to reach out to the underprivileged in our society and do my part as a responsible citizen to serve my community.
“I think the world realized how important we medical professionals are and how we play an important role in our society for the wellbeing of everyone,” she said. “This pandemic period also had so many people from the medical sector working so hard, going out of their way and workspace and helping others — many people deserve recognition for their incredible work.”
Mark is a Dubai-based writer who has couch-surfed through Ukraine, broken bread with football fans in Basra, and appeared on a boxing reality TV show in the UAE – all in pursuit of a good story. Or at least an average anecdote.