Hospitals eye halal certification to attract patients from Middle East

There are two things that worry almost every patient from Islamic countries who come to Indian hospitals the meat they eat and the direction of Mecca With more than 75 of the medical tourists being from the Middle East hospitals are eyeing halal certification to make them feel at home

On Monday Chennaibased Global Health City said it has became the first in the country to receive the halal certification from the Halal Development Authority The certification would mean they get halal meat in food and have quiblah the direction of Mecca signs in every room and prayer hall Muslims offer prayers facing quiblah

At least five leading hospital groups in the country including Apollo Hospitals and Fortis are in talks with the authority said Halal India general manager Mohamed Noman Lateef In Chennai Mehta Hospitals and Lifeline Hospitals have also sent applications for the certification

Halal India is an independent Halal Certification body which is recognised by the Indian government and deals with certification of food cosmetics and drugs as per the Shariah law Halal is anything that is legal or lawful for Muslims In terms of meat halal applies to the kind of meat pork is banned their health condition and the way they are killed The butcher must make a recitation to God and cut the jugular vein carotid artery and the windpipe with a sharp knife The animal cant be stunned before it is killed

To ensure the meat used in the Global hospitals kitchen is halal officials from Halal India visited the slaughter house from where the meat is purchased Its not just about food or prayer hall its about lifestyle For any Muslim it is important that any business performed in their daily lives is clean hygienic and not detrimental to either their health or wellbeing as specified in the religious text In that sense it is a new benchmark for quality said Halal India business development manager Sheetal Bajaj

Hospital chairman Dr K Ravindranath said Halal certification was a form of approval that boosts patients confidence To earn the certification Global Health City had to meet strict Islamic guidelines dealing with hygiene and dietary regulations of global standards The hospitals international business vicepresident M Zakariah Ahmed said after Joint Commission International JCI this would be one of the biggest certification process hospitals in the country are aiming for

Every room will also have a sticker that gives the exact direction of Mecca I tell every patient the food is halal But I feel they would be happy to see the certification said Global Hospitals international patients executive Vireesh Singh We tell them that we make public announcements for prayer and ensure that we give women a separate place during prayer he said

Transplant surgeon Dr Madhu Shankar agrees People from the Middle East have a different culture We dont enter the female patients room without their permission A female nurse will walk in first and seek permission for a male doctors entry he said

Date : 15 May, 2012
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