Dubai's 'person of the month' is dead

71-year-old Emirati donated Dh38m to Rashid Hospital in 2012

A UAE man who in 2012 won the “person of the month” award sponsored by a local newspaper has died because of illness.

Abdul Salam Rafei died at the age of 71 after a treatment trip to the United States and Britain and the burial service is to be held in Dubai on Saturday.

Rafei, who has four sons, died while having treatment and recuperation in Britain after falling ill early this year, according to his family.

“We could not believe when we learned about my father’s death...he was treated in the US and his condition started to improve..he then travelled to the UK for treatment follow up and recuperation but his health worsened and he died,” his son Mohammed said, quoted by Dubai-based Emarat Al Youm Arabic language daily.

“He was a benevolent person who was respected and loved by all...he was modest and loved to help the others...he had donated funds for the construction of many mosques, schools and hospitals inside and outside the UAE.”

In November 2012, Rafei was selected as “person of the month” by Emarat Al Youm, which introduced the award at the start of 2012.

The paper said he was picked after donating Dh38 million to fund the construction of a massive clinic complex at Rashid Hospital in Dubai. He was among many local candidates chosen by the newspaper’s management for the award.

“Rafei deserved to win this award with merit as he proved to be an honorable example through his generous gesture,” the newspaper’s editor in chief Sami Al Riyami said.

“He has set a wonderful example in shouldering responsibility towards his nation and in promoting good deeds out of his keenness and love for his country away from any personal gains, fame or propaganda.”

Riyami said Rafei’s gesture would contribute to tackling the problem of crowding at Rashid Hospital, where large queues had packed its corridors. “Some patients had to wait for nearly three months to get an appointment,” he added.

Rashid Hospital executive director Dr Shawqi Khouri said the project includes 84 clinics covering all fields of specializations and that it would be completed in mid-2014.


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