Dr. Zulekha Daud: Epitome of compassion and care
Zulekha Daud is the Founder and Chairperson of Zulekha Healthcare Group, including Zulekha Hospital UAE; Alexis Multispeciality Hospital, India and Zulekha Colleges, India. She set up Zulekha Hospitals in 1992 in UAE and in 2016 in India. Dr. Daud, hailing from Nagpur, Maharashtra in India, a renowned physician-turned-entrepreneur based in UAE received India’s top most honors for overseas Indians – the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award 2019. The award is conferred on individuals who have made significant contributions to philanthropic and charitable work and for prominence in one’s field which has enhanced India’s prestige in the country of residence. The award was presented to Dr. Daud by the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind on 23 January 2019 at a ceremony held in Varanasi, India.
Zulekha Daud was born into the family of a construction worker. She graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from the Government Medical College in Nagpur, India. She specialised in gynaecology.
Daud moved to the UAE in 1964, becoming the first female Indian doctor to practice there. She first worked at the American Kuwait Mission Hospital, while her husband Dr. Adil Daud was an ophthalmologist in Ras Al Khaimah. Before the federation was formed in 1971, facilities in the UAE were basic, some areas lacked electricity and supplies; equipment that Zulekha had to use were rudimentary. She has attended to more than 10,000 deliveries across her career and it is her work in this field that earned her the moniker ‘Mama Zulekha’.
The first Zulekha Hospital was set up in Sharjah, in 1992. It began as a 30-bed facility and the Zulekha Group has now expanded to include another hospital in Dubai along with 3 medical centers and a chain of pharmacies. Today, the Zulekha Group is one of the largest private healthcare networks in the Emirates. Between the two hospitals and three medical centers, the Zulekha Group treats about 550,000 people annually.
In 2016 Dr. Daud established a 200 bed multispeciality hospital in her hometown, Nagpur, known as Alexis Multispeciality Hospital. The hospital is an offering and initiative of Dr. Daud to help serve the entire Central India community by providing the highest quality of medical care across various disciplines. The Hospital has a team of renowned specialists and medical personnel supported by latest cutting-edge technology offering all-round care and comfort. In 2004, Daud set up Zed – a vocational and training center and a charitable trust in Nagpur. Her other efforts in India include the ‘Clean Drinking Water’ cause engineered in and around Nagpur. She has also begun adopting non-functional educational institutes around the area.
In 2010, Daud put together a financing deal of $24 million with the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group to offer hospital care in India and the UAE. According to the plan presented, $21 million would be put toward a strong hospital in Nagpur, India and $3 million would go toward an energy-efficiency project in the Zulekha group’s Sharjah facility. Alongside healthcare services, Dr. Zulekha Daud leads numerous community initiatives across her facilities in India and the UAE that promote the early detection and prevention of life-threatening diseases such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer and cardiovascular diseases. During the initiative period, thousands of individuals are invited to take free health checks pertaining to these diseases at the group’s hospitals.
Awards and recognition
- International Women’s Day excellence award on the 11th International Women’s Day Excellence Awards in Dubai. (2012).
- Recognised as one of the top gynaecologists in the UAE and honoured by Sheikh Dr. Majid Bin Saeed Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Ruler’s Court (Ajman) at the National Conference on Women’s Health at Gulf Medical University (GMU) Campus. (2012).
- Lifetime Achievement – Healthcare Award (2012).
- Zulekha Daud placed 20th in the Economic Times' 2013 list of Most powerful Indian in the Gulf. (2013).
- Placed in Forbes Middle East top 100 Indian leaders in the UAE. (2013).
- Listed as one of the 20 most influential global Indian women. (2015).
- Outstanding Contribution of an Individual to the Middle East Healthcare Industry Award. (2015).
- Ranked 33 in arabianbusiness.com’s list of 50 richest Indians in the GCC.
- Dubai Quality Award at the 21st Business Excellence Awards Ceremony. This was recognised by the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. (2015).
- H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation recognized and honored Dr. Zulekha Daud, Founder and Chairperson of Zulekha Healthcare Group in New Delhi and presented her with a letter of thanks and appreciation of her five decades of valuable contributions to the healthcare sector in the UAE and her tireless efforts to boost welfare levels for UAE citizens and residents.
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