Background: Islam is the world's fastest growing religion and is projected to be the world's most popular religion by the end of the century. The growing population and increased mobility among Muslims make certain that healthcare providers anywhere will encounter Muslim patients in their clinical practice. The intersection of religion, culture, and gender for Muslim women has unique implications for their healthcare provision but remains understudied. Method: We conducted this narrative review of the literature to describe the known barriers for Muslim women in accessing and receiving high quality healthcare, with an emphasis on what individual providers may do to heighten cultural awareness and sensitivity. Results: Potential barriers discussed include modesty and privacy among Muslim women, gender preference for providers, family involvement in care, fatalism and predestination, maintaining religious practices during illness, low health literacy and language proficiency, preference for traditional remedies, fear of stereotype and discrimination, and limited healthcare access. Specific advice is included for healthcare providers. Conclusions: When caring for Muslim women, healthcare providers’ awareness of common barriers to effective care and methods of addressing them is valuable. Additionally, an appreciation of the diversity of religious practices, health beliefs, and preferences of Muslim women and their families will enable providers to engage this population with effective and culturally competent care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science