Website URL:

The Federation of Islamic Medical Associations (FIMA) invites all Muslim physicians to join together to end polio and improve child health and welfare.


We have a historic opportunity to end a disease that has plagued children for much too long. Today, cases of polio are down more than 99% worldwide since 1988, and this year alone has seen significant progress against the disease. Nigeria and Afghanistan, two of the three countries that have never stopped transmission of polio, have reported only six and twelve cases respectively as of October 2014. Iraq and Syria have successfully curbed polio outbreaks even in the midst of conflict.


But pockets of polio still remain, primarily in Muslim majority countries. As of October 2014, Pakistan accounts for more than 80% of cases globally and remains the largest exporter of the disease. Leaders in the Muslim world have already played a vital role in advancing eradication efforts and supporting childhood immunization.

For example, the International Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence) Academy in Jeddah and other prominent Islamic leaders around the world have issued nearly thirty fatwas (religious edicts) promoting the safety of polio vaccines. The Islamic Advisory Group (IAG), under the leadership of the Grand Imam of the Holy Mosque of Mecca, issued a declaration to support vaccination. Additionally, a range of Muslim donors have contributed to the polio eradication effort, including the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Development Bank and several Muslim philanthropists. But more must be done to defeat this disease.

As believers in the Islamic faith, it is our sacred duty to take care of our children, promote and protect their health and welfare. As physicians, it is our responsibility to provide lifesaving care, educate families on the importance and safety of vaccines and advocate for the right of our communities to have access to quality healthcare.


This is why we, Muslim physicians, are uniting behind a new Call to Action on Polio Eradication and Children’s Health to declare our commitment to end polio and urge our leaders to ensure vaccination of all children. Several leading physicians have joined the call to action, including Dr. Yagob Al-Mazrou, Secretary General, Health Services Council, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Dr. Tariq Cheema, Founder and CEO, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, US; Dr. Sania Nishtar, Founder and President, Heartfile, Pakistan; Dr. Gamal Serour, Director, International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research, Al Azhar University (IICPSR), Egypt.



A complete list of vaccination advocates to date can be found below.


We call on our fellow physicians across the Muslim world to join us in this urgent effort to end polio and protect children against all vaccine preventable diseases. Over the next few months, we will continue to welcome signatories with the goal of bringing thousands of physicians together in solidarity for children’s health.


Join the call to action here.


Muslim Physicians’ Call to Action Champions:


  • Tanveer Zubairi, President, Federation of Islamic Medical Associations, Pakistan
  • Mustapha El Ghirbi, President, Association Medicale Er Razi, Algeria
  • Nariman Safarli, President, Azerbaijan Medical Association, Azerbaijan
  • Mohammad Nazrul Islam, Principal, Islami Bank Medical College, Bangladesh
  • Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman, Consultant, Chest Diseases, Islami Bank Central Hospital, Bangladesh
  • Mohammad Abdul Wohab, Psychiatrist, Modern Psychiatric Hospital, Bangladesh
  • Gamal Serour, Director, International Islamic Center For Population Studies and Research, Al Azhar University (IICPSR), Egypt
  • Bashar Al-Najafee, Head of Maxillofacial Surgery, Iraq Board of Maxillofacial Surgery, Iraq
  • Musa Mohd Nordin, Consultant Pediatrician & Neonatologist, Chairman FIMA Advisory Council, Malaysia
  • Kashim Shah, Family Physician, Rural Health Nepal, Nepal
  • Iqbal Ahmad Memon, President , Pakistan Pediatric Association, Pakistan
  • Zakiuddin Ahmed, President, Healthcare Paradigm, Pakistan
  • Ashraf Ali, President, Fata Research Center, Pakistan
  • Tariq Bhutta, Former Chair of Paediatrics Department, Member NIAG, King Edward Medical College, Pakistan
  • Amna Buttar, Member, Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Tahir Chaudhry, Head of Pediatrics Department, Islamic International Medical College, Pakistan
  • Najib Haq, Principal, Peshawar Medical College, Pakistan
  • Wasim Jafri, Head of Gastroenterology,  Agha Khan University, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Iqbal Khan, General Secretary, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, Pakistan
  • Shamim Ahmad Khan, Ex-Chief Executive/Dean Postgraduate Medicine; President, Fatima Memorial Hospital, Society of Surgeons, Pakistan
  • Sania Nishtar, President and Founder, Heartfile, Pakistan
  • Hafeez Rahman, Ex-President, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, Pakistan
  • Ata Ur Rahman, Ex-President, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, Pakistan
  • Fakhur Zaman, Head of Pediatrics Department, Central Park Medical College, Pakistan
  • Sherjan Kalim, Vice President for External Affairs, Bangsamoro Medical Society, Philippines
  • Zuhair Ahmed Al-Sebai , Founder, Noor University, Madinah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Yagob Al-Mazrou, Secretary General    , Health Services Council, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Abul Fadl Mohsin Ebrahim, Professor of Islamic Studies, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Mohamed El Amin, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dean of Scientific Research, Al Neelain University, Sudan
  • Mamoun El Houmeidah, Vice Chancellor, USMIT, Sudan
  • Yuksel Peker, Consultant Urologist, Skaraborg Hospital, Sweden
  • M.Ihsan Karaman, Professor and Head Urology,  University of Istanbul, Turkey
  • Majid Kagimu, Director, FIMA HIV-AIDS Resource Centre, Uganda
  • Tariq Cheema, Founder and CEO World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, US
  • Hossam E. Fadel, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, US
  • Ismail A. Mehr, Chairman Dept. Anesthesiology, St. James Mercy Health System
    President Islamic Medical Association of North America
  • Khamis Mussa, President, Islamic Medical Association of Zanzibar, Zanzibar
  • Hassan Ashmawy, Consultant Surgeon, President, Islamic Medical Association of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.
  • Mwimbe Juma, General Secretary, Sunshine Muslim Volunteers, Darussalam, Tanzania.
  • Nazr Murshid, Consultant Cardiologist, General Secretary Punjab Specialists Association. Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, Consultant Physician & Cardiologist, Immediate Past President, Islamic Medical Associations, Kuala Lumpur
  • Abdul Rahim Mohamed, President, Islamic Medical Association Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
  • Aly Mishal, Consultant Endocrinologist & Chairman Ethics Committee, Islamic Hospital, Amman
  • Zulkifli Ismail, President, Asia Pacific Pediatric Associations, Kuala Lumpur
  • Mohamed Hatta Shaharom, Professor of Psychiatry, Cyberjaya University College of Medicine, Kuala Lumpur
  • Noor Khatijah Nurani, Immediate Past President, Malaysian Paediatric Association, Kuala Lumpur
  • Mohd Sham Kasim, Professor of Paediatrics &Chairman Malaysian Paediatric Foundation



Dear FIMA Addiction Working Group Members,


Assalamu Alaikum,


The International Symposium on Drug Policy and Public Health has been held in Istanbul on September 29th – October 1st, 2014. The Symposium was organized by the Turkish Green Crescent Society and has been supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Turkish Ministry of Health, the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies, the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sport, the Turkish Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction TUBIM.


The President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and 5 honorable ministers from Turkey have honored the symposium with many national and international heads of organizations and institutions.


The Turkish Green Crescent Society invited FIMA Addiction Working Group Members and representatives of the Country Green Crescents within FIMA to the Symposium. 6 Representatives of the Addiction Working Group from Federation of Islamic Medical Association (FIMA) member countries, and Country Green Crescent representatives from 20 countries participated in the Symposium.



  • 85 speakers and chairs from different countries,
  • 8 focal points of Council of Europe, Pompidou Group from European Region,

  • 15 focal points of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries by favour of the Statistics, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC).

  • Experts, university students, teachers, psychologists, Green Crescent branches and representatives from Turkey and totally 1270 participants from 65 countries took part in the symposium.

In the following days you will be able to reach all videos, articles and the final book through the Symposium Website. Please see the link for the photos of the Symposium



You may contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any questions or comments. On this occasion, I would like to thank all participants from the Country Green Crescents and the FIMA Addiction Working Group.


Best regards,

Prof. Dr. M. Ihsan Karaman

President, Turkish Green Crescent Society

Vice President, FIMA

Source article:

This week, two children – 1-year-old Ahmed and 16-month-old Laiba – became the latest victims to polio in Pakistan, taking the total cases in the country to 117 already this year. If current trends continue, this number is likely to grow substantially by the end of 2014.

Even a few cases of polio can quickly infect other children, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of Center for Disease Control (CDC), recently. “Without eradication, a resurgence of polio could paralyze more than 200,000 children worldwide every year within a decade,” he said.

Pakistan is one of the three remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic. But while cases are surfacing thick and fast here, this is not true for the other two countries in this bracket. Only 8 incidents have been reported in Afghanistan in 2014 and the number is even lower in Nigeria – currently at just 5. So what is going wrong in Pakistan?

North Waziristan, interrupted
A geographical breakdown of the incidents reveals that more than 70 percent of Pakistan’s polio cases this year have come from North Waziristan, part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This region was under a vaccination ban imposed by local militant leaders since June 2012. However, Pakistani military operations in the past two months that have chased away most militants here has presented a golden opportunity in the campaign against prevalence of polio in the country.

This opportunity is not without challenges. Nearly a million people have been displaced from North and South Waziristan following the military action, resulting in a large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are difficult to keep a track on. Since polio is an extremely infectious disease, spreading primarily through feces, the movement of these groups to different parts of Pakistan can easily lead to a fresh outbreak of the disease.

Myths and misconceptions
A recent Harvard poll in Pakistan has found that parents and other caregivers have several misconceptions against polio and its vaccine, resulting in fewer vaccinations even when they have access to immunization. Preliminary findings released by the researchers last month suggest that 30 percent of parents in Pakistan believe that paralysis from polio will be curable if their child got sick. Over a third of Pakistani parents in FATA aren’t aware that oral polio vaccine (OPV) must be taken every time it is offered in order to maximize protection against the disease. More than one in ten parents hadn’t even heard of polio.

This parental refusal to get their children vaccinated comes from ignorance and illiteracy, said Dr. Tanveer Zubairi, a Lahore-based chief consultant radiologist and president of FIMA (Federation of Islamic Medical Association), an Indiana-based non-profit that has advisor status at the World Health organization (WHO).

“They don’t know what polio is and that it doesn’t have any cure,” he said, citing a below 30 percent literacy rate in tribal areas. “They don’t know that their children get crippled – for life.”

Parents are suspicious of vaccinators who come to their home – the Harvard survey found only about a quarter of the parents in FATA trusted them “a great deal”. Worse still, they had apprehensions of the vaccine itself – nearly half the parents in FATA had heard damaging rumors against the vaccine, and a majority of them believed these to be true. Both Ahmed and Laiba’s parents had not got their children vaccinated.

These myths surrounding the vaccine existed in both high and low risk regions, and many parents believed it would cause sterility, or tuberculosis, or some other disease in their children, said Dr. Zubairi. “Some people are apprehensive that there is some sort of pork extract added to the vaccine,” he said, referring to religious problems this would stoke in Muslim communities. “But doctors have been trying to reassure people that they have checked and there is nothing of that sort.”

For even those who were open to vaccinating their children, coverage of the vaccine has been poor, as suggested by the findings of the study, which was conducted between November and December last year. While 70 percent of parents in FATA said that their children didn’t receive vaccines, 15 percent said that vaccinators didn’t even come to them during the last vaccination campaign.

Though inaccessibility and security was a big reason for this poor coverage, with the lifting of the militant rule, agencies have finally got a chance to dive into these areas.

Step by step
The WHO declared polio an international public health emergency earlier in May this year. Between May 21 and August 9 this year, more than half a million children were vaccinated against polio, as per WHO estimates. Over 1.5 million doses of OPV were given to children in door-to-door vaccination campaigns for both the displaced and host communities.

Vaccines are also being given in Afghanistan, where several thousands of families have fled, following the military action. Health workers have been sent to settlements where the displaced people are staying, to give them polio as well as other necessary vaccines. The Pakistani army too has procured some polio vaccine kits to administer doses to families that are difficult to reach.

While this is encouraging news, is it enough? Along with these resources that are being pumped into the region, support infrastructure has to be evaluated too, experts suggest. Polio workers need to be recruited from these communities, and not at random, as it would breed more trust among parents.

The Grand Imam of Ka’aba (Mecca) recently implored Muslims around the world to get polio vaccines. This kind of positive message from the top of Islamic leadership is extremely useful. Yet, with many of these parents having no access to television or radio, these messages get lost in transit. Local religious and other influential leaders play an important part here to plug this gap and spread the message.

“People need clarification at various levels – local, familial, religious,” said Dr. Zubairi. “Efforts may not trickle down to all people at once but it’s a start.”

Researchers from the Harvard poll suggest that polio workers can build trust by offering additional services to the community, especially clean water, which is a big need in FATA. Bundling the polio program with other child vaccines could also broaden the scope and reach of these efforts.

Approaching polio through both oral vaccines as well as via injections could help reduce the spread of this crippling disease. While oral vaccines help improve community health (even the feces of a vaccinated child can help kill the polio virus in the neighborhood), said Dr. Zubairi, injections fully immunize the child by killing the virus leaving no scope for the disease.

“Perhaps then we’ll finally bid farewell to this deadly disease.”