Netherlands: Muslim orgs want separate rooms in hospitals

Netherlands: Muslim orgs want separate rooms in hospitals

Muslim organizations in Breda (Netherlands) insist on separate rooms for men and women at Amphia Hospital.  "Many Muslim women don't think it's nice based on religious conviction to have a half-naked man in the bed next to them," says Driss Siraji, who spoke with the hospital on behalf of the Immigrant Council and the Aarahman mosque.

Separate rooms were common in  Dutch hospitals until ten years ago.  At Amphia they're aware of the wish of the Muslim community, but keep to mixed rooms.  "If people have a principle objection to mixed care, they can make it known at admission, we then try to take that wish it into account.  But mixed care gives the possibility of making optimal use of the bed capacity and prevents unnecessary transfer of patients to other rooms," says spokesperson Truus de Bruijn.

She says that in practice there are few requests to get care in a woman's room and that if they get such a request it's generally from a Muslim woman or a nun.  Other hospitals in the region also get requests for separate care.  "If it's possible, we arrange it.  People can also book a Comfort Class room.  They you lie alone, but that does cost extra money," says a spokesperson for the Lievensberg hospital in Bergen op Zoom.

Sirajij says that he often meets women who want to be cared in a separate room.  "Not in emergency cases, but by regular admission."  In 2006 there were plans to build a Muslim hospital in Rotterdam, but nothing came of it yet.

Amphia, who also has a branch in Oosterhout, will soon appoint a Muslims chaplain for the first time.  This is after urging from the same Islamic organizations.  Other hospitals already have such chaplains in service.

Source: BN DeStem (Dutch)

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