Two Black Country campaigners who formed a group to support Arab Nursing and Midwifery staff were able to highlight their work as part of King Charles III’s 75th birthday celebrations.
Ofrah Muflahi, a Registered Nurse and Non-Executive Director on Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Board, joined her cousin Afrah Muflihi, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lead Midwife for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, at the special event at Buckingham Palace.
The pair have formed the British Arab Nursing and Midwifery Association (BANMA) to ensure Arab colleagues are more visible and thrive in NHS workplaces where they can progress in their careers without facing discrimination.
They attended a reception at the palace for international Nurses and Midwives working in the UK where they saw the King, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
Ofrah, a UK professional lead at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “We sang happy birthday to the monarch and were honoured to be among many senior leaders including Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, and Dame Ruth May, England’s Chief Nursing Officer.
“It was a lovely event as part of the NHS 75th birthday celebrations as well as the King’s birthday and it was an opportunity to raise the profile of BANMA and its aims.”
Afrah added: “We were both incredibly proud to highlight the work we’re doing as well as to represent some of our international colleagues at such a special occasion.
“Guests were genuinely extremely interested in BANMA and the importance of appreciating the contribution that Arab Nurses and Midwives have made to the NHS over the years.”
The Nursing and Midwifery Council only made it possible in 2021-22 for registrants to identify themselves as being Arab. Since then, the numbers have been increasing.
Ofrah and Afrah are also committed to promoting Nursing and Midwifery as careers of choice for Arab communities, particularly among young people.
BANMA has been awarded small grant funding by the Florence Nightingale Foundation. The group will use this money to help grow its membership and begin its outreach work with the British Arab community.