Dubai doctors scale Mount Kilimanjaro to conquer fear and fatigue of COVID-19


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Dubai: Sending out a strong message of resilience and triumph of the human spirit, a group of UAE-based doctors who successfully scaled the highest peak of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, last month, were felicitated by the hospital for their brave spirit.

An adventure to triumph over fear and fatigue

The doctors, from Prime Hospital in Dubai, not only did the trip to defy the fear and fatigue of COVID 19, but also donated a decent sum of money to an orphanage in Tanzania at the Moshi village towards the annual school uniform expenses of 79 children at a local orphanage.

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Led by Dr Azam Bader Khan, specialist orthopaedic surgeon at the Prime HealthCare, Dr Talakere Usha Kiran, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Prabharan Balaji, specialist anaesthesiologist and Dr Mahesh Kumar, specialist orthopaedics, the quartet was accompanied by two other orthopaedic specialists, Dr Sunil Kulkarni, from NMC Specialist and Dr Saeed Al Thani, a private consultant. They flew into Tanzania on March 17. They reached Moshi village at the foothills of Kilimanjaro and after acclimating, themselves to the local weather started the trek via the Machame route with three guides on March 19. Undertaking 12-hour long treks each day from 7am to 9pm, the group was able to reach the summit after a gruelling 5-day journey on March 23.

Covid-19 could not stop their resolve

What was commendable was the fact that among the trekkers, Dr Kiran had recovered from COVID-19 only a fortnight before the trip and had left behind her husband, Dr Milind Thakur in Dubai, who had barely recovered from COVID-19 a few days before the trip.

“After my experience with COVID-19 and a very scary two weeks that my husband faced, I felt life was too fickle and I had to step out of my comfort zone. So although, I was not able to do any prior training or participate in practice treks that the group did in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, I still decided to just sign up and be there,” said Dr Kiran.

Recounting the decision to do this trip and the adventure therein, Dr Kiran also added, “before this trip I had not really met my colleague Dr Khan and only overheard him discussing the project near the lift. Since I have always been a very active person during the years I spent first in India and later in the UK before coming to Dubai, I wanted to get back to doing this.”

Trip to highlight importance of mental health

Dr Khan, who has been taking up adventurous treks all throughout his career including to the Everest Base Camp and to Antarctica, told Gulf News: “My main purpose in undertaking the trek to Mt Kilimanjaro was to reestablish our faith and hope that was seriously eroded during the last one year owing to the pandemic. Staying indoors and being unable to meet friends or travel, most of us have to deal with mental health issues. I wanted to point out to the fact that a large part of our mental health issues is linked to our physical health. If we can go outdoors, exercise, breathe and be stress free, we can actually address our mental health problems. Then I also wanted to reach out the orphans of Tanzania. Most of these orphans belong to patients of HIV who perished or are offsprings of single parents who have abandoned them,” explained Dr Khan.

Mind over matter trip

Owing to altitude sickness, one of the doctors was unable to climb to the peak but the other five made it with courage and resilience. “It was a mind over matter trip. One has to realise that it is possible to break the barriers or limits that we construct for ourselves. If you decide, you can achieve the impossible. I learnt this from our trip. The body has to follow if the mind is made up, that is how I climbed this peak,” said Dr Kiran.

In a felicitation ceremony held at Prime Hospital, Dr Tasneem Jamil, Deputy Managing Director of Prime Health Care group, commended the group for the inspiring and courageous mission they undertook in the midst of their tight duty hours and the pandemic.


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