South Africa’s Department of Health has said it is reviewing its proposed dress code policy for nurses following backlash from Muslim nurses.
The proposed policy seeks to ban headscarves for nurses while on duty.
Health Department spokesperson, Foster Mohale, said several stakeholders expressed their reservations about the policy, and all inputs would be considered.
“We are trying to be as accommodating as possible, taking into consideration the religious and other factors that have been raised by a number of stakeholders,” Mohale said.
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The nursing director at the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa (IMASA), Honey Allee, said they were concerned that this might discourage Muslim women from being nurses.
“Not all parents would like their children to leave the country. They have this profession and they are not allowed to practice with what the Quran says women should be wearing,” Allee said.
Allee also questioned the hygiene concerns around Muslim nurses wearing headscarves, saying, “We fully recognise that regulations and standards are put in place so that medical practitioners can perform at the highest standard. But where is the empirical evidence and hygiene concern where the scarf can cause cross infection?” (Eyewitness News)