A Spot of Light

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HE Dr Maryam Matar, founder of the UAE Genetics Diseases Association is a lady of many talents. A scientist, humanitarian, daughter, wife and mother, she has also held many prestigious positions including being the youngest Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and helped propel and implement the law that makes it mandatory for all marrying couples in the UAE to be screened for genetic abnormalities. Perhaps her most admirable quality of persistence manifests when she met an eminent royal family member, when he came to deliver a speech at the Dubai Women’s College. 20’s something Maryam stood before him and explained her proposal to start a screening centre. What is remarkable is that her research was all in place and so was the cost of setting up the space. Her courage and perseverance worked. In ten days, she received a cheque from His Highness. At the time, she didn’t even have a bank account to deposit the cheque. What happened later is not just a personal achievement but is also a part of UAE’s contemporary medical history. Manju Ramanan meets the softspoken Dr Maryam Matar who has carved a distinct name for herself in the pantheon of women achievers of the UAE