How MCC and Al-Shifa clinic is helping the Dallas Community

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Dr. M. Basheer Ahmed established the Muslim Community Center in Dallas some 25 years ago. He was persistent and committed to creating this institution. Today it is one of the organizations that serve humanity.

I am pleased to share their work during this trying time.
Mike
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The pandemic of coronavirus

How MCC and Al-Shifa clinic is helping the community

M Basheer Ahmed M.D.  Chairman Emeritus

March 27, 2020

The whole world is going through a very critical period. 185 countries are fighting the biggest pandemic of this century. Over half a million cases of Coronavirus infection have been confirmed, leading to a current death toll of over 22.000 globally. And on March 26 USA. became the world leader in recorded infections over 85,000. More than 1,200 people have died. This is an unprecedented time in our history. This is an unprecedented time in our history. As we address a pandemic that will no doubt become a chapter in the history books, we at MCC are committed to providing whatever services we can to our patients.  Many employees are now working remotely, and we keep in touch with our patients on a regular basis. President Trump said on March 24 that he wanted to reopen businesses by Easter. He believes that a crippled economy and forced social isolation would do more harm than the spread of the virus. Public health experts said that lifting the restrictions now in place would result in unnecessary deaths.

First and foremost, we’re trying to take care of our team to ensure that we do everything possible as an organization to slow the spread of COVID-19. Health and safety will always be priority number one.

What are some ways MCC is effectively helping the community during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We closed the Al-Shifa clinic on March 17th but we are taking calls from patients daily, filling prescriptions, connecting patients with doctors if they need a consultation, arranging lab tests as needed and we are giving free medication to patients once a week.

Our social worker and outreach coordinator are taking calls and providing counseling by using Webex or over the phone. We continue to refer patients to other agencies like hospitals and other supporting community agencies as needed. Our phones are continuously busy, and we are taking care of our patients as much as possible under the circumstances.

The number of cases coming from the Child Protection Services is increasing, as well as calls from victims of domestic violence. Being “locked” in their homes coupled with the financial stress brought on by the pandemic are resulting in intolerance and abuse. Currently, we are working on 25 domestic violence cases. Calls from refugees have also surged, exceeding 15 calls per day.

One common question we receive is “what can we do in case we are experiencing symptoms?” MCC social workers and outreach staff advised them of the method of guidance and awareness-raising and urged them to seek help without hesitation or fear.

We have sent a message to all the mosques and Islamic centers to encourage people in need to contact us at 817-589-9165.

We canceled 19 patients that were scheduled for mammogram screening on April 4th, 2020.

The nonprofit organization is dedicated to doing good work with minimum financing are experiencing hardship due to cancellation of Crucial spring fund-raisers and Donor’s preoccupation with their own financial situation. MCC operation depends on donors’ support.

The coronavirus epidemic and how it is affecting communities.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019. This virus contains a single-stranded (positive-sense) RNA associated with a nucleoprotein within a capsid comprised of matrix protein. The virus replicates locally in cells of the ciliated epithelium, causing cell damage and inflammation. The appearance of antibody in serum and nasal secretions is followed by resolution of the infection, no vaccines or specific drugs are available. Hygiene measures reduce the rate of transmission. Because coronavirus infections are common, many individuals have specific antibodies in their nasal secretions, and these antibodies can protect against infection. Most of these antibodies are directed against the surface projections and neutralize the infectivity of the virus.

Each infected cell can release millions of copies of the virus before the cell finally breaks down and dies. The viruses may infect nearby cells or end up in droplets that escape the lungs.

Most Covid-19 infections cause a fever as the immune system fights to clear the virus. In severe cases, the immune system can overreact and start attacking lung cells. The lungs then become obstructed with fluid and dying cells, making it difficult to breathe. A small percentage of infections can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, and possibly death.

Coughing and sneezing can expel virus-laden droplets onto nearby people and surfaces, where the virus can remain infectious for several hours to several days.

The virus is now moving explosively through the human population. While most people will recover, about 20 percent of the people who catch it will wind up with a serious disease. They will get pneumonia that causes shortness of breath, and they may need hospitalization.

Older people with existing health problems are much more vulnerable. The mortality rate of coronavirus among people over age 80 may be 15 or 20 percent. It appears to have 7 or 8 percent mortality for people aged 70 to 79. Here is the terrible part: If you are a healthy younger person, you can catch the virus and, without developing serious symptoms yourself, you can pass it along to older people.

The coronavirus may infect between 200,000 and 1.7 million Americans, assuming we use only minimal efforts to contain it. Dr. Lawler’s estimate of 480,000 deaths is higher than the number of people who die in a year from dementia, emphysema, stroke or diabetes. There are only two causes of death that kill more Americans: cancer, which kills just under 600,000 per year, and heart disease, which kills around 650,000 per year.

Our understanding of how the virus spreads is still limited, but there are 4 factors are important to remember: how close you get to someone; how long you are near the person; whether that person projects viral droplets on you; and how much you touch your face.

South Asian countries have done better job containing the virus than Europe and the United States. In China, when officials realized that some 80 percent of Covid-19 cases involved infected people passing the virus to their family members, the government built large-scale isolation units where those people could be cared for from a safe distance from their loved ones. In South Korea, when an early outbreak was originated in one large church, healthcare workers began tracing the contacts of more than 200,000 of that church’s members. They quarantined all of the people who were exposed, monitored them and sent anyone who became symptomatic to an isolation center. China, South Korea and Singapore have taken a better approach to control the spread of disease. Unfortunately the epidemic is spreading rapidly in New York, the most populated city in the USA. We just heard that 91 patients of a nursing home in New Jersey were infected and New York reported more than 100 deaths in just one day.

The devastating effect of the epidemic on the poor due to their loss of job left many workers without health insurance and forced many families to forego healthcare and medications to pay for food, housing, and other basic needs. People of color and the poor who have suffered for generations with higher death rates will be hurt the most. Low-income workers who manage to save money for groceries and actually make it out to the store may find empty shelves left behind by panicked shoppers with enough resources to hoard. The federal government’s decision to send a $1,000 check, or even a $2,000 one, won’t pay the rent in in most of the large cities.

The necessary precautions

1) Wash your hands. Even if people meet the virus, they can avoid becoming infected by washing their hands before touching their face. Hands should be scrubbed for at least 20 seconds.

2) Try not to touch your face.
3) Keep your distance. It’s not easy but try to stay at least six feet away from other people when you’re at work or in public. And don’t shake hands.

4) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand,

5) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances and in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you must. The clothing on your elbow will contain an infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

8) Stay home if you feel sick. You probably don’t have coronavirus (though, of course, you can’t be sure)
9) Stock up on food and medicine, have enough supplies on hand for at least 14 days — the recommended length of quarantine.
10) Check in with friends and family. You should be checking in with people less able to prep.

Unless you are already infected, face masks won’t help                                               Your vacation may have to be postponed

 

It is normal to feel stressed!

Fear, worry, and uncertainty about your own health status, as well as that of your loved ones, are common. Each one of us experiences anxiety and sadness at some point in our life and most of us are experiencing these now. It is especially important to be aware of the signs of stress so that you can act or consult a healthcare provider. Talking to those you trust is a helpful way to reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety, fear, boredom or vulnerability during social distancing, quarantine, or other safety measures.

 

This pandemic is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial, or social status. By being “locked in”, we have developed a sense of supernatural control and oppression. This should make us aware that millions of people in the world have spent their whole life under oppression and misery. This experience should make us realize our powerlessness and I hope we give up our big egos and become humble. A single virus can make this world “stand still”.

 

Our reaction to COVID-19 is a sign of humankind’s smallness and vulnerability. I hope in addition to making us feel afraid and unsure, it is also making us more pragmatic and more open-minded, more sensible, more compassionate and more understanding. We should maintain a sense of hope and improve our sense of control and endurance.

 

I believe that there is a divine purpose behind everything that happens. It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are old or sick. We should realize that all we need to survive is water, food and clothes; not all the luxuries we are so used to.  We can be calm or we can panic and see it as the end of the world and, consequently, cause ourselves more harm than good.

 

Many see the Covid-19 virus as a great disaster. Actually, it is giving us an opportunity to change and adopt a right path. God has given us free will to learn from this experience and to choose our path. We should revisit our life priorities and re-evaluate our paths to serving humanity as the supreme goal of life.

 

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M. Basheer  Ahmed M.D
Chairman Emeritus – MCC for Human Services
Past President IQRA – A Dallas/ Fort Worth peace initiative
President IMPMS – Institute of Medieval and Post-Medieval Studies
Education, Research and Service to the Humanity is the Greatest Worship
Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
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