Dr Taisser Atrak has been trying to prevent child deaths and injuries to road accidents and drowning with an impressive and determined awareness campaign in Abu Dhabi.
Child safety and prevention of injury are issues close to the heart of this Abu Dhabi Awards winner, who is also the chairman at the department of paediatrics and consultant neonatologist in Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC).
Since moving from the US to Abu Dhabi in 2008, Dr Atrak developed an awareness campaign on child safety while on the road and both at home and school. As part of the programme, he has been providing Paediatric First Aid for Caregivers and Teachers (PedFACTs) training on basic first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and fundamentals of child’s safety in cars and buses to families, caregivers of children, teachers, nannies and bus drivers. He has become a well-known figure for his tireless service to the community and concern for child safety and wellbeing.
“I dedicated myself to this cause after seeing so many preventable injuries and deaths happening and due to lack of caregivers’ awareness and education on basic measures and skills that can save lives. Public awareness, education and training in basic skills can save lives and make a significant difference in children’s health and safety,” said Dr Atrak, an American Board-certified consultant neonatologist.
Dr Atrak volunteers his time and funds the free to attend training sessions and workshops, which have helped in saving the lives of children during unexpected and emergency situations, where quick response is needed.
Asked what drives him to continue his safety campaign for more than a decade now, he pointed out that “sustainability of such programmes is important”.
“I still conduct with my team training in CPR for families, car safety seats’ education and other initiatives. Past June, we had a large campaign including a stand at Galleria Mall where we trained more than 600 families in car seats and CPR. This was sponsored by SSMC in partnership with Mayo Clinic. We went to a number of majlis, schools, Zayed Organisations and other centres conducting child safety activities. These initiatives were extremely successful with positive feedback from attendees and a high number of likes and views on social media.”
Dr Atrak also developed several programmes and health initiatives on child safety, including a head cooling system for newborns and the early hearing detection and intervention. Receiving the Abu Dhabi Awards, the highest civilian honour, in 2011, has put spotlight on his work and turned him into a role model.
“In my professional life, Abu Dhabi Awards placed higher expectation and moved me to higher level as it opened many doors with government entities for shining the light on my initiatives, such as working with the Ministry of Interior for car seat laws as technical expert and working with Department of Health – Abu Dhabi on injury prevention initiatives and programmes. As the Abu Dhabi Awards is widely recognised, many entities were inspired and followed our initiatives as they introduced child safety programmes in their organisations.”