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Hyderabad mosque functions as a clinic for women, provides mid-day meals to children

Nikhat Fatima | India Tomorrow

HYDERABAD, SEPTEMBER 5—Bonding people together is among the primary functions of a mosque. Keeping this in mind SEED ( Support for Education and Economic Development) a charities organization based in USA sponsored a project to set up a community health center on the first floor of Masjid Mohammed-e-Mustafa, in Wadi-al-Mahmood, in Rajendranagar Mandal. This project is being implemented by Helping Hands Foundation(HHF)–a Hyderabad-based NGO for the last three weeks offering free treatment for the women and children.

This community health centre running under the banner of ‘Rabiya Clinic’ named thus after the mother of a donor in SEED caters to women and children from at least 31 slums around  the Rajendranagar Mandal, like M.M. Pahadi 1 & 2, Sulemanagar A, B, C Blocks, Chintalmet, Bhopal Nagar, Hasanagar, IndiraNagar, NTR Nagar, Bara Imam ki Pahadi etc approximately covering a population of about five lakhs. The area has one ‘basti’  Dawakhana in Kishan Bagh and the nearest Primary Health Centre is at Rajendranagar, so this clinic in the Masjid is easily accessible to the women.

“The function of a Masjid has been not just to offer ‘Namaz’ but also for community bonding, discussing issues of the community and seeking solutions. It has multiple functions which have been out of practice. With this endeavour, we are reviving the old traditions when mosques used to play an active role in the community,” said Mr. Mujtaba Hasan Askari of Helping Hand Foundation. 

The important feature of the Rabiya clinic is that it is is (wo)manned by women right from the Senior General Physician to the desk support staff. There is a child specialist, obstetrics & gynaecology specialist, a dental surgeon, dietician, nurses, counsellors and other support staff. 

This clinic comes as Godsend to the poor and marginalised sections of the slums living on the outskirts of the Hyderabad city. The pandemic COVID-19 has not just disrupted the lives of the people but has also taken away their livelihood and the meagre sources they had. Not just their economic situation but also health care has been neglected for want of finances and health centres.

The centre provides basic primary care for seasonal illness and for health services like nebulization, intravenous (IV) fluid replacement, wound dressings etc. Free third-party lab services including TIFA (Targeted Imaging for Fetal Anomalies) Scans will be provided to pregnant women from weaker sections during ante-natal period.

“All patients coming to the clinic will be triaged by trained counsellors, who carry out thermal screening & check oxygen saturation levels. Later, these details are entered in an ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) developed risk assessment form which gives scores on a scale of 1-10” explained Mr. Askari.

Apart from curative aspects the clinic also focuses on preventive health to check for non- communicable diseases, anaemia in women during ante and post-natal period and malnutrition in children.

The counsellors & dieticians of the clinic will, based on the scale score of the patient, counsel them on the diet intake, physical exercise and guidance for further treatment based on their family history of illness and symptoms. Likewise, children will be also assessed to determine their growth and the malnourished children will be provided protein supplements.  Mid-Day meals are also being provided to 100 school- going children under 10 years at the Masjid three times a week. Immunization and vaccinations are also given.

Iron and nutritional supplements along with Vitamins are being provided to children found stunted through an exclusive Nutri-Rehab Program under the aegis of the Masjid Health Centre.

 “Women’s & Child health issues are being neglected in the current pandemic situation and there is no focus on preventive health. So, through our clinic at the Masjid we are focusing more in preventive care. This clinic is in the Masjid but it is open for women and children irrespective of their religion and caste” said Mr. Askari.

Everything is taken care of at this health centre with regard to COVID compliance. There are special cabins for doctors protected with plastic curtains, glass mounted tables to protect the front desk staff, a triage at the entry point, pedestal mounted sanitiser stands and large exhaust fans for free flow of air across the entire space of the clinic and the waiting area for patients coming to the clinic.

The clinic is even equipped with a dental chair with state-of-the-art feature to carry out simple to medium level non-surgical dental health procedures.

The contribution of SEED and the gigantic efforts of HHF have made health care to the poor in hard times a reality by providing treatment, medicines and even tests for free. 

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