Muslim health care professionals need hospital-grade sterile hijabs in the midst of COVID-19 and beyond. The pandemic has forced these primary health care workers globally to perform their duties even when they do not have the essential personal protective equipment (PPE) available in sufficient quantities.
The availability of hospital-grade hijabs would mean that they need to care about one less essential PPE while performing their duties in hospitals during the pandemic and afterward.
The following story covers one such attempt to provide hospital-grade hijabs by a Muslim fashion designer based in the US. We covered a similar story in The Halal Times.
As someone who’s worked in the health care space for more than 10 years, Hilal Ibrahim, 25, noticed a need for hospital-grade hijabs for hijab-wearing health care workers.
Based on Ibrahim’s personal experience, she understood the importance of designing a product that would be efficient and beneficial for health care professionals. This led her to create a “health care hijab” in 2019 through her H&H (short for Henna and Hijabs) company, where she designs handmade and organic pieces for Muslim health care workers.
Once the realities of the coronavirus pandemic set in, the Minnesota-based fashion designer took the initiative in finding a way to serve local health care providers.
“With growing concern around having enough PPE material for front-line health care professionals, we knew a critical component around the topic was missing — accounting for hijabs among the essential materials,” Ibrahim told “GMA.” “Our company decided to take quick action, which resulted in us donating our breakthrough health care hijabs to local area hospitals in Minnesota and beyond.”
H&H’s health care hijabs are available in a variety of bright, easy-to-wear colors including a soft pink as well as a powdered blue tone. They also have lightweight breathable material that’s conducive to a health care setting.
She has also introduced sanitary headscarves that can be easily washed to be reused. These hijabs are meant for frontline health care workers who would like to continue performing their medical duties while adhering to their religious beliefs.
“In addition to functionality, we wanted to close a disparity gap in the health care industry,” said Ibrahim.
She explained that when Muslim women in the health care industry don’t have access to products and materials that allow them to practice their faith while doing their job. It makes their job even more difficult.
“That is why we created this health care hijab — to find a solution and fill a need,” said Ibrahim.
Since March 2020, Ibrahim has had the opportunity to partner with leading organizations including HealthPartners and Allina Health to donate nearly 1,000 hijabs to local health care workers.
H&H has also donated health care hijabs to help meet the needs of the internationally recognized Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. That has helped her further understand just how far this needs to be extended.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Ibrahim. “We have been receiving continuous requests from Muslim women around the world who are doctors, nurses, and other front-line health care employees beyond the facilities we’ve partnered with. They are asking for help.”
She also recalls a Muslim respiratory therapist at Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis, Yasmin Samatar, saying the donation from Henna & Hijabs will help her focus on providing care to her patients since she knows the hijabs are available and sanitary.
“We hope by donating our hospital-grade hijabs, it will be one less thing our health care heroes have to worry about during these trying times,” Ibrahim said.
“We hope that this will start a conversation amongst health care leaders about how they can continue to value the inclusivity and diversity of the health care system as a whole,” she added. “For our particular community, that means being mindful about providing garments and materials that allow us to focus on our job while we practice our religious values comfortably.”
As the UK and other countries have been rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination drive for the past few months, authorities in many countries need to make sure that they provide hospital-grade suitable hijabs to their Muslim healthcare workers who have been busy tackling the covid-19 patients since the beginning of 2020. They would need hijabs even during Ramadan to protect themselves while performing their duties regularly.