ROME: Media and colleagues have been paying tribute to Dr. Mohammad Ali Zaraket, who became the first doctor of Lebanese origin to die in Italy from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday. He is one of 225 doctors who have died from the disease in the country since February.
Zaraket, 62, had worked in Rome as a general practitioner for almost 40 years. He was the general secretary of the Lebanese Doctors Association in Italy and a popular figure in the Italian capital’s Lebanese community. He is survived by his wife and three children.
“Medicine was his passion. It was much more than a job to him. He saw it as his mission to help people and improve their lives,” Jihad Jabbour, a Lebanese doctor who works at Rome’s Policlinico Umberto I hospital, told Arab News.
“He was very active and engaged in trying to intensify medical cooperation between Italy and the Arab countries, and he organized many events for that purpose,” Jabbour added.
An obituary published in Italian daily La Repubblica said: “His commitment to medicine and to his patients was so strong during the COVID 19 pandemic that, on September 15, 2020, he received official recognition from the Italian Prime Minister’s office ‘for his outstanding work as a representative of Lebanese doctors in Italy and for promoting intercultural and religious dialogue.’”
Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi expressed her condolences to Zaraket’s family and to the Lebanese community in Rome. “He was an example of integration and altruism. Rome will remember his engagement as a doctor and as an active citizen in our community, especially in this very tough time”, she said in a statement.
The Islamic association Imam Mahdi described Zaraket in a statement as “a man full of humility and kindness who was always ready to help others.”
“Doctor Zaraket was a pillar of our community and an example of solidarity and real altruism. His memory will live in each of us who does his duty every day in a humble way, without feeling like a hero,” Michele De Nittis from the Rome Primary Care Unit, where Zaraket worked, told Arab News. “We will not forget his work or his example.”
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