Dr. Tanveer Zubairi

Dr. Tanveer Zubairi

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.

Majority of the world, including the Islamic world, is polio-free, with cases of polio down 99% worldwide since 1988. However, this preventable disease continues to afflict children in a few predominantly Muslim majority countries. As of September 2015, only two countries harbor the residual disease - i.e. Pakistan and Afghanistan still pose a challenge and accounts for more than 80% of cases globlly.

In the past year, political and religious leaders in the Muslim world have made significant commitments to eradication. We now have a historic opportunity to build on this leadership to end polio and ensure all children receive life-saving vaccines.

Through the concerted efforts made by WHO, Governments, Health workers, and Muslim NGOs and bodies, there has been a drastic reduction in the spread of this deadly disease. No new case has been reported in Pakistan since the last 65 days and almost the same is true with Afghanistan.

As believers of Islamic rulings, it is our sacred duty to take care of our children and guarantee their right to lead healthy full lives. Allah reminds us that, "Indeed lost are they who have killed their children, from folly, without knowlege, and have forbidden that which Allah has provided for them." (Surat l-anam: verse 140)

As Muslim physicians, it is our responsibility to both provide lifesaving care on the frontlines and advocate for the rights of our communities to have access to quality healthcare. We commit to educating families on the importance and safety of vaccines and to providing unwavering support to polio eradication efforts, which are integral to broader child health improvement.

We call on our leaders and the entire Muslim community to join us in the quest to end preventable child diseases and deaths.

As Muslim physicians and healthcare workers, we urge our Muslim brothers and sisters to support vaccination against polio and commit to protecting our children against all vaccine-preventable diseases.

We call on:
- The governments of all polio-affected countries and their neighbors in the region to strengthen political and financial commitment to ending polio.

- Muslim communities to stand together as a unified front to recognize polio eradication as a priority and sustain support at all levels until eradication is achieved.

- Local leaders, media, educational institutions, and civil society to work to dispel myths and rumors about polio vaccines, disseminate research-based information on the safety of the vaccines to the public and encourage families to seek vaccination services.

- Governments to ensure the safety of polio health workers and provide them security and community support in dispensing their duties to protect all children.

- National and global programs to continue to bridge the delivery of polio vaccines and broader health services to ensure a lasting impact on child health initiatives even after eradication.

The time is now for the entire Muslim community to unite for children's health and seize the urgent opportunity to end polio. We are now very close to ending the Polio from the face of this world, Inshallah we shall witness it very soon.

Dr. Tanveer Zubairi
President, FIMA

HIV-AIDS continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 34 million lives so far. In 2014, 1.2 million people died from HIV-related causes globally. There were approximately 37 million people living with HIV-AIDS.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with 26 million people living with HIV in 2014. Unfortunately, there is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective treatment with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives.

The Federation of Islamic Medical (FIMA) and its affiliated Islamic Medical Associations (IMAs) from various world regions, convened in the city of Makassar, in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population, hosted by the Indonesian Islamic Medical Association (IIMA), and held the HIV/AIDS symposium, within the context of FIMA's 32nd Annual Convention.

The symposium was attended by the Global Outreach and Advocacy Advisor - UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific, who presented the UNAIDS strategy of Fast Tracking the Response to end the AIDS Epidemic by 2030.

The following made informative and state of the art presentations including, Dr. Mohammed Ali Bhuiyan (UNAIDS) on Fast-tracking the response to end AIDS by 2030. Professor Magid Kagimu (Uganda) and Director FIMA HIV/AIDS Resource Centre made a presentation on Fast-tracking the Islamic approach to HIV/AIDS, the evidence base. Dr. Kemal Siregar (Indonesia) presented on "Fast-tracking HIV and AIDS response: What does it mean for Indonesia?"

Sheikh Ali Lubowa updated on "Fast-tracking the Islamic Approach to HIV/AIDS, the role of Imams: experience from Uganda". Hajat Sarah Kaye (Uganda) talked on Fast-tracking the Islamic Approach to HIV/AIDS, the role of Muslim Women: experience from Uganda, and finally, Dr. Aly A. Mishal (FIMA) gave a presentation on "Youth protection from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases".

FIMA issued this Declaration at the conclusion of this important symposium: It reads as follows:

1. WHEREAS some statistics from UNAIDS and other concerned NGOs point to significant successes of the UNAIDS strategy of Fast-tracking the Response to end the AIDS Epidemic by 2030, and

2. WHEREAS other statistics from the same sources, reveal significant increases in the new HIV infections in many Muslim countries, including the Middle East, North Africa, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, in which HIV/AIDS prevalence is traditionally much lower than other parts of the world, and

3. WHEREAS notions from contemporary prevailing social and lifestyle changes in Muslim countries point to expectations of possible increased HIV transmission, and

4. WHEREAS in the islamic paradigm, HIV/AIDS is not considered as just a virus-induced disease, but rather a manifestation of a serious breakdown of socio-moral and behavioral norms afflicting human societies in varying degrees and

5. WHEREAS scientific evidence, discovered at the FIMA HIV/AIDS Resource Center, hosted by the Islamic Medical Association of Uganda, showed that high levels of religiosity manifested by high levels of practice of the five pillars of Islam were significantly associated with lower HIV infection rates among Muslim youth.

FIMA and many concerned workers caution against attitudes of false security from HIV and other STDs susceptibility, which may lead to complacency in adopting sound and sustainable policies and activities towards public awareness and prophylactic efforts.

FIMA and her IMA affiliates in many world regions have been concerned with the increasing trends of HIV transmission and disease in Muslim communities. Over the past several years, FIMA launched diligent prophylactic activities based on raising public awareness, and widespread training of local dedicated community leaders, especially among the youth, in collaboration with governmental, civil, social, religious, and educational entities.

FIMA training and public awareness activities utilized the latest scientific advances and epidemiologic knowledge, side by side with Islamic teachings and guidance that advocate values of self-discipline, chastity, morality, decency, family centricity, and reject the expanding trends of promiscuity, homosexuality, commercial sex, drug abuse, and other behaviors, that will always undermine global efforts to effectively combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

FIMA welcomes sound collaboration and partnerships with UNAIDS and other stakeholders including governments, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, scientists and academia, women organizations, youth organizations, Muslim scholars, as well as Imams and Sheikhs, to fast-track the response to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

FIMA will specifically contribute the Islamic approach to the UNAIDS strategy of Fast-tracking the Response to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

FIMA calls upon UNAIDS to include the constructive roles of Islamic values and paradigm in the long struggle aiming at an AIDS-free world for the whole of humanity.

Dr. Tanveer Zubairi
President, FIMA

Dear Sir/Madam

Assalamu alikum WRWB

Hope you are in the best of your health and spirits.
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