Mayor John Tecklenburg Cuts Ribbon at New Shifa Free Medical Clinic
Are you without insurance and in need of medical care? Are you a woman in need of gynecological or pre-natal care? If so, did you know that you can receive free health services on Clements Ferry Road in North Charleston? Yes, indeed.
On January 26th, the 11-year-old Shifa Free Clinic had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its brand new, 5,000 square-foot space just off I-526. The clinic was founded in 2012 by physician Dr. Reshma Khan and previously operated out of a small space on Johnny Dodds Boulevard in Mount Pleasant. Mayor Tecklenburg performed the ribbon-cutting honors while the CEO of the parent organization, ICNA Relief, Mr. Maqsood Ahmad, gave the keynote address.
”Charleston is a city that cares for all of its citizens, and Dr. Khan and Shifa Free Clinic are shining examples of that,” said Mayor John Tecklenburg. That same sentiment was echoed by Mr. Maqsood Ahmad, CEO of ICNA Relief, who praised the Shifa Free Clinic as a concrete manifestation of ICNA’s vision of building healthy communities, strengthening families and creating opportunities for those in despair while maintaining their dignity.
The new facility is equipped with five patient rooms along with a specialized area for eyecare. The clinic offers comprehensive primary care, OB/GYN, ophthalmology and pediatric care. It can also refer patients to off-site specialists, such as for non-cosmetic dermatology. In addition, it has conference facilities, a pharmacy and plentiful provider stations, which are supportive of Shifa’s role in training future medical personnel. With a special focus on women, and in partnership with Roper St. Francis Hospital, Shifa Free Clinic can provide a seamless experience from pre-natal through delivery. Patient services also include childhood and adult vaccines, no-cost generic prescriptions and cancer screenings across all life spans. With this expanded footprint, Shifa Free Clinic is capable of managing an anticipated patient growth up to 500 visits per month over the next five years.
Founder Dr. Reshma Khan explained, “In addition to ensuring healthy moms and strong babies, we see the clinic as a ‘safety net’ for those without insurance who want to improve their health before illnesses become life-threatening or require a costly visit to the emergency room.” As nutrition and health go hand-in-hand, Dr. Khan said the clinic also includes comprehensive food distribution, through a partnership with Lowcountry Foodbank, including on-site, home-delivery, and at community events. “Our organization also wants to ensure that our patients are living a healthy lifestyle so we supply them with nutritious groceries to take home.” With the move to the bigger location last month, Dr. Khan said the clinic is looking forward to not only accommodating more patients on-site, but to expanding its community outreach programs.
The clinic is operated with seven full-time staff members and volunteer nurses and doctors, many who are retired after decades of caring for patients in Charleston and surrounding areas. Clinic hours are Monday through Friday between 9 am – 4 pm and they can assist patients in multiple languages and have staff on-site to assist Spanish-speaking patients. “Here at Shifa Free Clinic, we treat everyone with dignity and respect, without regard to religion or ethnicity. Our firm commitment to compassionate care extends to all people, whether they are homeless, raising children, or simply having difficulty making ends meet,” said Dr. Khan.
Chris Marino, Chair of the Shifa Free Clinic Campaign, is leading a $4 million campaign to purchase the facility and fund the next three years of operating expenses to expand services to meet demand. Marino shared, “Shifa Clinic has great partners, including Labcorp, Roper St. Francis, Direct Relief, Americares, DHEC and others, and receives $2.5 million donated in in-kind services. But because the clinic serves those without health insurance they rely on donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to cover the costs of running the clinic.”
For more information or to support the Shifa Campaign currently underway, call 843-352-4580 (ext 2128) or visit https://www.icnarelief.org/
About Shifa Free Clinic:
Founded in 2012, Shifa Free Clinic has grown into a full-time comprehensive medical clinic providing Primary Care, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Ophthalmology care. Shifa Free Clinic serves the uninsured earning less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level. It also offers a fully stocked full-time 5-day a week food pantry.
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