Holistic Approach to Healthcare: Erum Qureshi

Qudsiya Siddiqui

February 26th, 2020

This February we share the story of Erum Qureshi, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from Illinois, USA. Qureshi’s first relief mission with Imana Medical Relief (IMR) was to The Gambia in January 2020. On this mission, she provided advanced medical assistance to locals in need. 

Qureshi practices holistic-style patient care. Her advanced studies gave her more independence to address individual needs and concerns in providing improved care for patients, a skill she put to use in The Gambia. She accompanied a team of four other veteran relief mission medical professionals on this mission. At first, being surrounded by so many seasoned volunteers led her to feeling a bit disconnected. 

Qureshi quickly overcame her fears, as she had her heart set on serving the community in need, in ways that her medical expertise supported her passion. She experienced a surge in energy when caring for almost 200 patients each day for an entire week because she wanted to help to the best of her ability.

“After practicing in the US where all where all healthcare services are available at your fingertips, being in The Gambia made me realize there’s so much that needs to be done in educating the locals.”

She shared how most of the locals visited the clinic with common ailments that arise from their hard-working lifestyle under the blazing hot sun. 

The Senegalese tea culture is an important part of daily social life for Gambians, due to which Qureshi diagnosed the most number of cases of acidity and hypertension in patients. She advised her patients to drink lots of water, take long walks and eat fresh fruits/vegetables. Qureshi was surprised to learn how receptive her patients were to her suggestions, as the Gambians prefer natural remedies and alternative treatments than, taking medicinal drugs. 

During this week-long mission, Qureshi’s belief strengthened over how the human body’s ability to frequently get stronger if it’s able to fight on its own [in certain cases]. She witnessed how children are actually surviving and thriving without getting prompt medical attention, despite everything.

“Maybe I don’t need to treat so quickly. That is the problem in the US. We treat too quickly because we have access to resources, ” she said.  

Qureshi hopes to open her own or collaborated clinic for pediatrics with a holistic, Islamic, and alternative method to treatment and preventative primary care. Now, even more, she strongly believes in the need to change healthcare in the US and focus on natural remedies before treating with medicine immediately.