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Monday, 22 April 2019 11:59 am

Health responds to needs of religion, say Saudis

rightabdullahkhaledSAUDI hospitals must work around the Muslim requirement of five prayers a day, according to Saudi Arabian medical professionals visiting Wellington this month.

The group of 20 doctors, dentists, nurses and other health professionals learned about the New Zealand health system and completed professional development classes at Whitireia Community Polytechnic during a three-week visit.

One cultural difference is the importance of prayer in a Muslim’s daily life, with times set out during each day to complete various prayers. 

There are five prayers, the first at dawn though there is some flexibility when it comes to specific times.

Khaled Alogbi (above left), a health educator in Saudi, says because of the large numbers of Muslim staff in the health system, prayers need to be organised so that operation of the hospitals and health centres is not disrupted. 

“If we don’t have an emergency situation, we have to stop. But you have a large time to do that. Not all the hospital stops. We go batch by batch, group by group.”

When travelling, some prayers can be combined so they only have to stop three times a day to pray.

Abdullah Alhaidan (above right), a Saudi dentist, says it takes “just three minutes, five minutes, that’s enough, and you can pray anywhere”.

Tim Edwards, the group’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutor, says the group of 20 came from a technical college run by the Saudi Government. The college organises similar trips all over the world.

Mr Edwards says the group focused on “how a different country does things”.

Dr Alhaidan, a dentist and group leader for the visit, says the first few days of the trip were spent learning basic English, with the focus then moving to health and medicine.

Topics included first aid, nutrition, cancer and mental health.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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