Push to meet health needs of Muslims in US

DESPITE Muslims being one of the fastest-growing minorities in the US, many of their healthcare needs are still going unmet, researchers say.

Focus-group research showed how religion shaped many attitudes to disease and healing among Muslims, according to a report published by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, in Washington.

“Illnesses ranging from influenza to cancer are attributed by many Muslim-Americans to the influence of God, with some describing illness as ‘a disease of fate’,” said Dr Aasim Padela, director of the Initiative on Islam and Medicine at the University of Chicago.

Imams were often consulted by patients for advice during illness but communication between them and hospitals was needed, the research found.

The report commended cultural sensitivity training for healthcare staff, provision of halal food and prayer space for hospital patients and building partnerships with