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