The Zulekha Healthcare Group found its roots in 1964 when its creator Dr. Zulekha Daud moved from her native India to Sharjah, UAE in order to pursue her dream of serving people in need and offer affordable medical facilities to all.
From a young medical graduate to a practicing physician serving patients from all walks of life, Dr. Zulekha soon became a household name. After years of dedicated service, Zulekha Hospital was established in Sharjah in 1992. It started off as a 30-bed hospital with basic facilities for Gynecology, Obstetrics, Surgery, Medicine and Pediatrics.
Today the Zulekha Healthcare Group includes two multidisciplinary hospitals in Dubai and Sharjah as well as one diagnostic centre, three UAE medical centres and three pharmacies.
The Group has contributed richly in recent years to set benchmarks in continuing medical education programmes for the entire Gulf region with its consistent interactive workshops and seminars on various medical and surgical topics.
Zulekha Hospital Sharjah is a full-fledged, multi-disciplinary hospital with Out-patient and In-patient facilities. What started off as a 30 bed set up with basic facilities for gynecology, obstetrics, surgery, medicine and pediatrics in 1992, today boasts of 150 in-patient beds, sprawled over an area of 240,000 square ft.
Zulekha Hospital Dubai is a 79 bed hospital established in 2004 which offers both inpatient and outpatient care covering a wide range of medical and surgical specialties.
Both facilities are specialized in following key services: Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, ICU, Dialysis, Advanced radiology & Laboratory services, Minimal Invasive surgeries, Bariatric Surgeries, Joint Replacement Surgeries, state –of the art modular operating theaters.
Zulekha Healthcare Group has grown dramatically from humble beginnings to a full-fledged healthcare network. The professionally managed multi-speciality facility offering modern medical solutions is the vision of Dr. Zulekha Daud. Her modest pledge to stay committed at every level of medical attention has been the premise of Zulekha Healthcare Group’s work culture and ethos.
The Group is currently working on a groundbreaking expansion project in Dubai to provide a state of the art cancer unit. The new facility will include a 100-bed inpatient room, ICU rooms, a modern dialysis service; and a sleep lab. The extension will allow the Group to focus and cultivate cancer care especially for the people in this region and is expected to be completed by mid-2017.
Zulekha Healthcare Group is also supporting an on-going 200 bed Tertiary Care Hospital (Alexis Hospital) project in Nagpur, India. This will be the first Multi-Specialty hospital offering secondary and tertiary care (Cancer/Cardiology/orthopedic and neurology treatments) in the region. The group plans to see over one hundred thousand patients in one year thereby stimulating the healthcare landscape at the epicenter of India.
The journey of Dr Zulekha Daud, Founder and Chairperson, Zulekha Healthcare Group, has been truly inspirational
There is compassion or perhaps a mantra in Dr Zulekha’s brand of care, which has benefitted innumerous patrons for the last five decades, leaving a lasting impact in the region. In her own words, “Beyond the technology, besides the specialists, there is something more – the magic of a caring touch.” It is that charisma and quality, which makes people fondly call her as 'Mama Zulekha'. The Group has now reached the zenith of excellence in healthcare, thanks largely to Dr Zulekha’s strong ethic of compassion.
The journey started in the early 1960s when Dr Zulekha Daud came to the UAE after completing her medical degree from the Government Medical College in Nagpur, India. It was her father, Sadiq Vali, who advised her to go to the Gulf. Choosing the UAE over a lucrative career in the UK, she helped people in deep need of medical treatment. During those days the UAE was a vast expanse of desert without any electricity; medical facilities were rudimentary to say the least. But despite unfavourable conditions Dr Zulekha decided to stay on and serve the people with a rare display of selflessness. Since there were no hospitals in those days, she travelled door-to-door to attend to normal deliveries. With her dedicated service, she was able to capture the hearts of the nationals and expatriates alike. In her own words, "What I did was nothing greater than the need for medical attention. I borrowed strength from the overwhelming need of the people in this country."
Even today Dr Zulekha wears the same spirit and passion to serve people suffering from various medical problems. Although these days her involvement is largely administrative, the 74-year-old is consumed by her abiding love for work. Having single-handedly elevated service to mankind to a new level, Dr Zulekha is now synonymous with care and compassion in the UAE. The arduous journey of the country’s first lady doctor represents a story of strength and determination, and serves as an inspiration to women and countless others.
About women, Dr Zulekha says, "Being a mother is a great feeling. It is an emotion of care. As a thumb rule, women tend to nurture and love more than others. They empathise, they give, they feel – which makes them motherly. Even as a little girl, I knew I wanted to care and give comfort to society so I grew up to become a doctor and with it came my identity."
Dr Zulekha started practising from her clinic in Sharjah in 1964. Braving hard times, with just a bag and a few basic amenities (there were no nurses or assistants) she dedicated herself to the women who needed her services. Some cases came from faraway places but she treated one and all. Her biggest reward was to see the women relieved of their labour anxieties, holding the newborns in their laps.In 1992, Dr Zulekha realised her dream with the establishment of Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah, followed by a medical centre in Dhaid. The year 2005 saw the establishment of a second hospital in Dubai. The 75-bed multi-speciality hospital has since proved to be a boon for the residents of Al Qusais, Al Nahda and Mirdiff.
The hospitals represent Dr Zulekha’s personality of care and compassion. Regarded as the Zulekha spirit, it can be found in the doctors and staff at all times. Under her eminent leadership, Zulekha Healthcare Group is now one of the largest private healthcare networks in the Gulf. With more than 1,800 personnel including over 300 qualified doctors, staff nurses and a host of paramedical staff, the Group represents comprehensive healthcare that is accessible to anyone in need of medical attention – delivered through two multi-speciality hospitals, three medical centres and three pharmacies.
Awards and accolades have been heaped on her in recognition of her services. Dr Zulekha has been voted as the Gulf’s most powerful Indian women by Arabian Business Power. She was also included in the top 10 of the most influential Indians in the Gulf by Arabian Business Power list. Every year, Zulekha Hospitals under her leadership have been supporting various corporate community initiatives in the UAE, notably — Beat Diabetes of Landmark Group, Think Pink Initiative of Joyalukkas, Terry Fox Run, etc.
Dr Zulekha is the winner of the International Women’s Day Excellence Award by ‘Dhwani’, the New Global Indian Excellence Award and the Lifetime Achievement – Healthcare Award for her iconic leadership and outstanding contribution to the industry at the Power Brands Hall of Fame 2012. She was recently bestowed with a Gr8! Women Award for her outstanding contribution in the healthcare industry and “Outstanding Contribution of an Individual to the Middle East Healthcare Industry Award” at the Arab Health Awards. In the same year, Zulekha Hospital (Dubai and Sharjah) received the Dubai Quality Award from Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC, for emphasising quality healthcare in the region. DHA honoured the Zulekha Hospital and Medical Centre (Dubai) in the accreditation ceremony for continuous cooperation towards providing high quality medical care for the population of Dubai. This award was received from Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.
Dr Zulekha firmly believes in the importance of good education. This is evident from her active involvement in several charitable causes and societal works despite her hectic engagements. She established a charitable trust under the name of ZED Vocational and Training Centre in 2004, mainly providing education to the needy segments of society in an unprivileged area of Nagpur. The trust is running a college in a backward area of Nagpur, where there are no educational institutes. The college is providing courses in commerce, science, technology and management. In 2006, ZED kindergarten was established for nursery,KG I and KG II classes. Besides providing computers for computer courses, it imparts education free of cost to poor students.
Taking her brand of care to a place where people are bereft of basic medical amenities, Zulekha Group established Alexis Hospital in Nagpur to meet the medical needs of the local communities. These are just some of the endeavors of Dr Zulekha who believes in contributing to the society by empowering it with knowledge.
Key projects undertaken by Dr Zulekha Trust for social and humanitarian causes during the last four years include blood donation camps, contribution of common medicines and surgical accessories, cleanliness drive in slum areas, and supporting an institution dedicated to the well-being of mentally challenged children.
Over the years, Dr Zulekha has helped build closer relations between the overseas Indian community and the country of her birth, India. She has initiated a book donation drive in the UAE, where huge collection of books on various subjects are collected and sent to academic libraries to benefit students. Poor students in India are helped through educational scholarships, books, etc. to maintain the growth of human resources, by the support of establishments run by overseas Indians. Dr Zulekha Daud along with Metito International supported the initiative of providing clean Drinking water to schools located in backward areas of Nagpur. This included complete revamp of water accessing and storage utilities at schools.
In the words of Dr Zulekha, "My motto in life has been very simple. I do my best and let the rest find its place. I am flexible in my progress. I am open to new ideas. I appreciate growth and I admire humility. I think the biggest success comes when we allow ourselves to be large enough to accept when we have been wrong. To move forward with learning is better than only moving forward and not understanding the lessons along the way. Times change, circumstances change, people change – how you change with it is what makes or breaks you."
It is obviously an arduous task to truncate Dr Zulekha’s profile. But she is arguably the highest woman achiever in the UAE from the Indian community. As the founder of one of the largest private healthcare networks in the Gulf, she continues to be an epitome of what a woman can achieve through sheer grit and determination, and of course, a lot of courage and perseverance.
"To be the most efficient, competent and courteous providers of comprehensive healthcare in the world."
"To provide easy accessibility to high quality healthcare"