INMED And The Islamic Medical Association
August 1st, 2006 by INMED
In a gesture of extraordinary kindness, the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) invited INMED President Nicholas Comninellis to address their third annual continuing medical education conference as the keynote speaker. INMANA has a particular interest in medical relief, especially in light of the devastating earthquake that shook Pakistan in 2005, killing 73,000 and leaving 3 million homeless. In responding to such crises IMANA has provided medical supplies and sent medical personnel where they are most urgently required. IMANA’s medical relief missions have provided timely and effective aid in Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey, Venezuela, the Carolinas and Chechnya in recent years.
Abdul Rauf Mir, a nephrologist and President-Elect of IMANA, introduced Dr. Comninellis with the statement, “We are together here because we want to help those who are suffering. Now Dr. Comninellis, he is a Christian, and we are Moslems. But we are all people of ‘The Book’ (i.e. the Tora, the first five books of the Old Testament). Jews, Christians & Moslems. We are all people of the Book. So he is really one of our own, and one heart with us in this work!”
Dr. Comninellis describe principles of international medical relief, including the importance of training nationals, collaboration with national governments, and appropriate response to disasters. He also explained the cost-effectiveness of primary health care over hospital services, and INMED’s role in preparing health professionals for such ministry. As an illustration of principles in action, Dr. Comninellis told the story of Oasis Hospital, opened in 1960 as the first medical facility in Abu Dhabi Emirate – an impoverished, neglected area of the Persian Gulf where maternal mortality was a staggering 35 percent, and 50 percent of infants died in the first year of life. Oasis led the way toward a marked improvement in the survival of women and babies.
Ashraf Sufi, gastroenterologist at Kansas University Medical Center and President of IMANA, commented, “Such self-sacrificing work brings out the very best in people. We are committed to continuing medical relief and look forward to a lasting relationship with INMED.”