Doctors at the Anniston Islam Center give back to community ‘regardless of faith’
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Jan 26, 2013 | 4409 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. Abdul Ahad Kazi performs an eye exam on patient Donna Ledbetter at the Anniston Islamic Center’s free clinic. Photo: Trent Penny/The Anniston Star
Dr. Abdul Ahad Kazi performs an eye exam on patient Donna Ledbetter at the Anniston Islamic Center’s free clinic. Photo: Trent Penny/The Anniston Star
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Through his Anniston ophthalmologist practice, every day Dr. Abdul Kazi sees first-hand the health problems facing the uninsured. And there are a lot of uninsured residents in Calhoun County.

The county’s uninsured rate is higher than average for the state of Alabama, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s one of the reasons Kazi said he felt that he and his fellow physicians at the Islam Center needed to work together to bring a free clinic to the community.

The other reason, he said, was his faith.

“This is the Lord’s commandment to all of us. And at the Islam Center community, we wanted to give back,” he said. “It is very fulfilling to serve people who need it.”

Kazi, along with Dr. Ebba K. Ebba, founded the Salam Free Clinic at the Anniston Islam Center and saw their first patients earlier this month. The clinic is for uninsured Calhoun County residents who do not have access to health screenings. Patients can come in for free screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol and other conditions. Volunteer staff also provide residents with pediatric and eye care, Kazi said.

On their opening weekend, Kazi said the clinic saw eight patients. By the following week he had already received calls for eight more appointments.

“We’re very excited about this,” Kazi said. “And I think people in the community are very excited about this, too.”

Kazi stressed that the clinic is not just for Muslims, but open to all uninsured residents.

“It’s a complete community effort, regardless of religious faith,” Kazi said. “It’s coming together for our small community, regardless of faith.”

And Kazi has received a lot of help from the community. Regional Medical Center donated an x-ray machine to the clinic, and Stringfellow Hospital provided furniture for the center as well. Although during the clinic’s first weekend volunteers were from the Islam Center, Kazi said — like the patients served by the clinic — help is not solicited exclusively from Anniston’s Islamic community.

“All of us our part of the family of God,” Kazi said.

The Salam Free Clinic is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling the clinic at 256-419-2041 and leaving a message.

Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.
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