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Malaysian Doctor Creates Disposable Hijabs And Solves One Of UK Hospitals' Major Issues

"Using the same headscarf all day obviously wasn't clean and ideal."

Cover image via University Hospitals of Derby and Burton/BBC & Daily Mail

A group of hospitals recently announced that they are the first in the United Kingdom (UK) to introduce disposable sterile headscarves for staff to use in operating theatres

"We are proud to be national leaders of good practice and inclusivity," said the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHDBT) - a group of five hospitals in southern Derbyshire and southeast Staffordshire - in a press release last Wednesday, 11 December.

It was a Malaysian junior doctor by the name of Farah Roslan, who had the idea during her medical student training at one of their hospitals

According to BBC, Farah said this brainchild came following infection concerns related to her hijab which she had been wearing for a whole day in Royal Derby Hospital.

"I'd been using [the same headscarf] all day which obviously wasn't clean and ideal," she told BBC Radio Derby.

"I didn't feel comfortable taking it off and I was pulled out from the theatre, respectfully, due to infection control."

Therefore, she said a middle ground had to be found between "dress code due to faith" and the "passion of being in the operating theatre".

Image via Daily Mail

She looked to Malaysia for inspiration before creating a design and testing fabrics

"I am so happy my vision has become a reality and that these headscarves are now available for all of the staff," said Farah, who is currently a second year houseman working in Lincolnshire.

"I'm looking forward to seeing if we can endorse this nationally," she hoped, according to Daily Mail.

She added in a tweet: "I hope that by providing the disposable headscarf, we will remove one of the major barriers in attracting a wider and more diverse talent pool in surgery."

Image via Daily Mail

Consultant surgeon Gill Tierney, who mentored Farah while she was at Royal Derby Hospital, said the issue was always under the radar until this fix

"We know it's a quiet, silent, issue around theatres around the country and I don't think it has been formally addressed," she said.

"It hasn't cost much and hopefully the effect will be enormous."

The UHDBT said the new headscarves were available to use in their hospitals earlier in December.

While both doctors hope the items can be introduced nationally, NHS England said it would be up to individual trusts, reported The Independent.

The hospital group has since received much praise from netizens, celebrating the item of inclusivity that was long overdue in the workplace

Earlier this month, Nike launched its first ever modest swimwear collection, which included a waterproof hijab:

However, the hijab has also been the centre of controversy in some cases: