“The Western Cape Branch of the IMA was approached by both Cape Town radio stations, Voice of the Cape (VOC) and Radio 786, to do Ramadaan programmes. Both radio stations had their medical programmes on Monday evenings at the same time! But as always there were enough volunteers around and the programmes were very well received. In fact, on VOC the questions received via sms within 15 minutes were more than what could have been answered within the 90 minutes allocated.
On one programme there were 62 questions received via the sms line! What was evident throughout, was the desire by our senior citizens to fast despite a multitude of medical conditions. The IMA has a long standing approach of considering our Deen, our patients and our duty as medical carers as a holistic entity and advising accordingly. Our approach was to ascertain what the callers were going to do first. In one case an 80 year old insulin dependent diabetic was going to fast no matter what our advice was going to be. A high handed instruction of warning her not to fast would have had no impact and alternate approaches were used.
The topic most frequently asked about by the engaging listeners was related to diabetes, especially those on insulin. Many of the more common conditions, such as asthma, heart disease and hypertension were covered and their relationship with fasting explained. Fasting in children and pregnant women were other areas that were extensively explored.
Other common themes what were raised were of ladies using contraception to delay their ghaid so that they can fast for one continuous month, and of how to adjust the doses of medications that are used three times to a twice a day schedule.
As always the positive aspects of fasting were emphasised. Time was spent on encouraging smokers to start detoxifying and coping strategies explained. It was always attempted to incorporate the benefits of fasting on the medical, spiritual, psychological and social fronts when questions were addressed. Medical aspects of Hajj were covered by the IMA during two large seminars on Hajj during Ramadaan as well.
The one was at Al Quds Mosque in Gatesville and was attended by a few hundred people. The second was for one of the largest South African Hajj groups. On both occasions medical advice was integrated with Quranic and Sunnah evidence, again using the IMA’s holistic approach. Further programmes are planned for the period leading up to the departure of of all those who have been extended the invitation to perform the fifth pillar of Islam.”
Dr Salim Parker