The covid-19 crisis has required sacrifices from all NHS staff, but Muslims and other faith communities have met additional challenges working without sustenance during working hours.
The end of Ramadan was marked all over the world in the last week of May, where the Islamic month of fasting and individual, personal observation of spiritual reflection, ended. But this year, with mosques and places of worship still closed and other restrictions still in place, Muslims in the UK and around the world were unable to mark Eid Al-Fitr in the traditional way.
Typically, the festival of Eid sees families come together to celebrate the month’s achievement. It traditionally sees big gatherings, meals, etc. and visiting family and friends, as well as attending special prayers in mosques.
Due to coronavirus, Eid prayers and festivities were curbed by social distancing measures, so alternative approaches were recommended such as praying at home and communicating with family and friends using phones and video-calling.
Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on black and minority ethnic (BME) communities with many Muslims losing family members and friends, along with colleagues across the different healthcare professions, including doctors, nurses, health visitors and midwives.
“Along with the rest of the UK, the Muslim NHS workforce has made sterling efforts and sacrifices to delay the spread of the coronavirus by heeding social distancing and adapting government advice,” said Habib Naqvi, deputy director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard.
“This virus has made some of our BME communities more vulnerable”, added Naqvi.
In April the NHS developed new Ramadan guidance in partnership with the NHS Muslim Network and the British Islamic Medical Association, outlining key advice to NHS staff and managers working in hospitals and healthcare settings during coronavirus.
The guidance, published on the NHS People website, covered adjustments over working hours and fasting arrangements for Muslim colleagues alongside information and support on covid-19.
Prerana Issar, chief people officer for the NHS, had said: “Our Muslim colleagues have been working tirelessly across the NHS, many while navigating the additional challenge of fasting for Ramadan.”
“The NHS has a diverse workforce with an estimated 3.3 per cent of the 1.4 million NHS workers being from a Muslim background. “
Darul Ihsan Media Desk