Laurette L. Cucuzza, MPH and Danielle Grant. POLICY II Project, Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), One Thomas Circle NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005, 202-775-9680, email@example.com
“Family planning is acceptable in Islam for child-spacing and the health of mothers. It should be the voluntary choice of individuals. People can adopt and use all modern and contemporary methods that are medically sound. Imams, Islamic religious leaders and associations should embark on awareness creation and advocacy campaigns to explain that family planning is acceptable.” From the Abuja Declaration of the First Conference of the Network of African Islamic Faith-based Organizations held in March 2005.
Progressive as this may sound, it is not a widely held or implemented sentiment within the African Muslim context. The continuing large unmet need for family planning in Africa is reflected in high maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity rates. To address this disparity in the policies and services offered by Islamic institutions, several Islamic leaders from five African countries (Senegal, Uganda, Mauritania, Ghana and Mali) came together in Bamako to discuss strategies and approaches, identify challenges and help each other embark on their own advocacy efforts in addressing FP/RH within their religious institutions. Protecting women's health through the delay of marriage and birth spacing are seen as acceptable approaches in repositioning family planning in the Islamic context.
A documentary film captures the views of these leaders and highlights many of the strategies and challenges they face in moving their institutions and communities to address these basic human rights for women and children.
Keywords: Faith Community, International Family Planning
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA