The Frontline Heroes Office has recognised Mona Al Hadrami, one of the people who has taken exceptional measures to safeguard those living in the UAE during the pandemic. As Facilities Director and COVID-19 Project Manager of SEHA Ambulatory Healthcare Services, she has had an integral role in co-ordinating the UAE’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Tasked with overseeing the establishment of the country’s network of COVID-19 drive-through screening facilities and vaccination centres, Al Hadrami courageously and determinedly handled the colossal mission of protecting Emiratis’ health and wellbeing.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, handed her the responsibility of ensuring the projects were delivered on time, amidst relentless deadlines, and to the correct specifications. And for the role, Al Hadrami had to start travelling thousands of kilometres, criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country. As well as an exhausting schedule that included frequently working with suppliers and contractors throughout the night, the Facilities Director couldn’t see her loved ones for four months due to the importance of her job and being constantly exposed to groups of people. With her mother sick with a chronic illness and a sister with immune problems, it was too risky for Al Hadrami to visit her proud family.
Although a gruelling period, it would also lead to some of the most satisfying moments of her life. “The work was very difficult,” Al Hadrami, an alumna of Abu Dhabi’s Higher Colleges of Technology, said. “It was the start of the pandemic and global lockdowns made securing medical equipment a big challenge. We were travelling all around the country to make sure projects were on track. It was Ramadan, and I was fasting while working under the sun. It was the first Ramadan and Eid I spent away from my family. Not being with them was incredibly difficult, but my team became like my second family.”
A visit from HH Sheikh Mohammed to monitor progress also gave her the strength to carry on. “He gave us positive energy - a feeling that nothing is impossible - and reminded us that our efforts are being recognised. We translated his words into action to keep motivated and prove to the world that we can fight the pandemic,” the brave woman who followed her parents into the medical field said.
Once the first batch of drive-through screening centres had been completed, the team, which at first held brainstorming sessions with the management to come up with ideas on how they would set things up, was instructed to finalise another 13 centres. Once they did this throughout the UAE in only 10 days, they were asked to oversee the construction of COVID-19 primary assessment centres in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. In the final phase of their work, the team managed a project to build vaccination hubs in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and introduce vaccination services into national screening centres.
“Alhamdulilah, we accomplished all our tasks within the timeframe,” Al Hadrami, who initially wanted a career in mechanical or aviation engineering, said. “Looking back, I’m so proud of myself. I’m proud that my management and the leadership believed I was capable of accomplishing these tasks. And I’m proud that I served my country and my community. It was a golden opportunity to make use of all my positive energy to help curb the spread of the virus.”
While giving advice to Emirati women inspired by her endeavours, Al Hadrami, who has had procuring and maintaining medical devices and systems on her job description, tells them to have trust in themselves. They also need to believe they aren’t alone as the UAE offers all the backing and encouragement needed.
“I couldn’t imagine that one day I would make sacrifices to become a hero to my country,” she said. “It has been the opportunity of a lifetime. Maybe there aren’t many women in our field, but I have proven to myself that I can do it. We were in a race against time and we proved to the whole world that nothing is impossible.”