Muslim nurse working at the Maamobi General Polyclinic was on Tuesday reportedly asked to go home for wearing her hijab to work.
HabibaAhmed on Eyewitness News said her explanation to her superiors over her decision to wear her hijab was ignored despite making reference to the Health Minister’s directive on the matter.
She narrated that the principal nurse at the hospital earlier last week issued a directive to all Muslim medical officers not to wear their hijab to work.
“Around half past noon [Tuesday], the principal nurse came in and called me. She asked why I was still in my hijab because there was an incident that happened last week.
She asked us to remove our hijab which we did so today she asked why didn’t I listen to what she told me… she asked me to follow her and told me to take my bag along because maybe I may not come back to the unit,” she narrated on Eyewitness News.
Habiba indicated that she together with her Muslim colleagues are unsure whether to wear their hijabs to work following the directive given by both the President and the Ministry of Health.
“…from what has been happening now, it is not really clear because the President has spoken about it, we’ve heard that from the Ministry of Health and now from the Nurses and Midwife Council but it looks like they don’t know anything about it. For some of us, we are really in the dark. I know other Muslim sisters who are a bit skeptic to wear their hijab because of that,” she lamented.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has served notice that it will conduct through investigations into the matter and sanctions will be applied where necessary.
The spokesperson for Health Ministry, Tony Goodman, sympathized with the Habiba and expressed surprise that “some managers in our facilities are still behaving this way.”
He warned that the Ministry will not condone such blatant disregard of the rules “because we have issued express directives instructing them to allow people to practice their religion in their own way and not in this manner.”
Mr. Goodman expressed disappointment in the development and promised to follow up.
He admitted that due to the processes such directives go through before reaching the various health facilities nationwide, it is possible that the letters may not have reached some medical centres.
He was however quick to add due to this foreseeable situation, that is why the Ministry copied the media in the Minister’s directive “for some of those institutions to get some of these information ahead of their bosses so I am surprised they are still saying that they have not gotten this circular.”
“It’s been read in the media, that this is what the Ministry of Health has said and I have seen a lot of circular on this so anybody who will say that I have not heard this and for that matter, my boss has not written to me so I am not going to adhere to it is just trying to be mischievous about this,” he added.