"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Bending Over Backwards for Ramadan

From Human Resources Magazine comes an article urging employers to be sensitive to the needs of their Muslim staff during the holy month of Ramadan - by not being sensitive to the needs of pretty much everyone else:

Employers Forum on Belief (EFB) has launched a guide to help employers understand the needs of Muslim staff during Ramadan.

There are 1.6 million Muslims living in the UK and during Ramadan, which begins next week, they must fast during daylight hours.

The EFB guide advises employers to avoid working lunches and consider flexible working arrangements. Employers should also encourage Muslim staff to discuss their needs.

Rachel Krys, campaign director of the EFB, said: "Employers who take a little bit of time to understand the needs of Muslim employees during Ramadan will reap rewards.

"It is an opportunity to show staff they are cared about and a small adjustment could reduce the need for time off. The changes we are suggesting are very small, allowing a little flexibility in working hours or switching working hours for meetings.

"Something as simple as not having biscuits at a team meeting would demonstrate sensitivity to what Muslim colleagues are doing."
Meanwhile, the Co-operative Pharmacy has launched its annual campaign to 'help fasting Muslims manage their medication safely':
THE Co-operative Pharmacy is extending its award winning Ramadan campaign to help Muslim patients manage their medicines during the month of fasting.

Seventy-nine Co-operative Pharmacies located in areas with a high proportion of Muslim customers, have been specially trained to offer a free tailored "medicines check" service. The pharmacists will then use these skills to identify patients who may need support and advice during the month of Ramadan.

Together they will discuss all aspects of the prescribed medicines, to minimise problems and improve the patient’s understanding.

Although people who are ill can be exempt from fasting between dawn and sunset during Ramadan, many who take regular medication continue to observe the fast. This can mean that oral medicines are not taken at the correct time intervals, or their effectiveness is altered due to drugs’ interactions with food.

The Co-operative Pharmacy is urging Muslim patients on regular prescribed medication to speak to their pharmacist, to ensure that if they need to change the times they take their medicines they continue to manage their condition effectively.

The initiative has been supported by the Muslim Council of Great Britain.

A spokesperson for the council said: "We urge all fellow Muslim brothers and sisters not to make their own decisions to alter doses or timings of medications without the guidance from their doctors or pharmacists throughout the holy month of Ramadan and beyond. We also urge local health practitioners to liaise with mosques and Islamic centres to educate the public on this important information during Ramadan fasting."

The Co-operative Pharmacy’s clinical services manager, Adrian Price said: "Last year we were able to support a significant number of Muslim people intending to fast during Ramadan and we are delighted to have extended the number of stores offering this service.

"We know that during Ramadan many patients change the times they take their medicines, or even the number of doses they take each day, without first seeking medical advice.

"Spending a few minutes discussing their plans with a pharmacist can identify potential problems and solutions," adds Adrian.

The implications of changing the times medication is taken can include interaction of drugs not meant to be taken together, if they are all taken before sunrise or after sunset, or a change in the effectiveness of drugs designed to be taken before, during or after regular meals.

"We appreciate the importance of cultural understanding and sensitivity when discussing the implications on healthcare of people’s religious beliefs. We’re not making assumptions about how Muslim patients might act, but we strongly recommend they talk to their pharmacist," concludes Adrian.

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