Muslim doctors announce plans for free clinic in Hoover
HOOVER, Alabama (AL)– Muslim doctors treated dozens of patients at a free health fair at the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center, then announced plans for a free clinic at the mosque that will be open on Sunday afternoons starting in January.
“We’re going to hire a nurse, but everyone else will work for free,” said Dr. Talha Malik, a physician who lives in Hoover.
He said there are more than 100 physicians of Pakistani descent living in Alabama, and about 40 of those live in Birmingham. Many of those doctors have volunteered to see patients for free on Sundays at a clinic at the mosque that will be called the Red Crescent Clinic of Alabama.
It’s a collaborative effort by the Birmingham Islamic Society and the Association of Physicians of Pakistani-descent in North America, Alabama chapter. “Most Pakistanis are Muslim,” Malik said. “We wanted to give back.”
The health fair was open to everyone regardless of religious affiliation and the clinic will be also, said Dr. Ehtsham Haq, a staff physician for the Birmingham VA Hospital who will be medical director of the clinic.
“It’s for everybody,” he said.
When the clinic opens in January, it will operate on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Hours may be extended based on demand, he said. “We can always expand.”
“It’s especially for the uninsured,” said Dr. Mohammad Qureshi, a primary care physician at a Veterans Administration clinic in Oxford.
“Today I saw nine or 10 patients,” he said. “Nowadays, health care is so expensive.”
A clinic offering free medical attention one day a week can help a lot of people, he said.
“Drop by drop makes a river,” Qureshi said.
Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Center, said he spoke with patients at the health fair about returning as patients at the clinic.
“They can’t wait for this to open,” Taufique said. “We are blessed with many physicians who are Muslims. Our goal is to improve life for all. We want to take care of ailing people in Alabama who do not have health insurance.”