As part of the Ramadan public health campaign set to be launched next Tuesday, key speakers including Barts Health NHS Trust Public Health Director, Dr Ian Basnett and Imam Faruq Siddiqi, the Trust’s Muslim Chaplain, will reinforce the importance of seeking medical advice prior to fasting, if a patient suffers from any chronic illness or health complication.
Ramadan is the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. Ramadan starts this year on or around Thursday, 18 June and lasts until about Friday, 17 July. During Ramadan, adult Muslims are required to fast from dawn to sunset – a fast that lasts approximately 19 hours around this time of year.
Those in poor health, such as the very elderly and mothers who are breastfeeding, are exempt from the obligation, but some may still insist on fasting.
The joint message being sent by health professionals and local Imam is that if an individual has an ongoing or serious medical condition, it is acceptable and very important to continue treatment, and to attend hospital appointments during the fasting period.
Imam Faruq Siddiqi, Barts Health NHS Trust Muslim Chaplain, said: “Patients, who suffer from any chronic illness or health complication, should consult their GP prior to fasting to see if they can do so safely during Ramadan. If fasting is not recommended by the GP, they should speak to their local Imam.
Barts Health NHS Trust Medical Director, Dr Steve Ryan, said: “With Ramadan fast approaching, we are urging our local communities to speak to their local GP or hospital consultant about how they can fast safely during the holy month, without running the risk of compromising their health.”
“By doing this, patients will be able to observe the rules of Ramadan, while also ensuring they can continue to receive care and treatment for any ongoing healthcare needs.”
Diabetes is one of the conditions that can result in a serious deterioration in health if not managed correctly with the right medication. Barts Health NHS Trust will run a series of diabetes clinics in the run-up to Ramadan for patients to understand how to protect their health, while still observing the holy month.