|AIDS Education Through Imams: A Spiritually Motivated Community Effort in Uganda (UNAIDS, 1998, 35 p.)|
|IMAU (Islamic Medical Association of Uganda)|
· To unite Muslim medical personnel and promote their spiritual, moral, and material welfare.
· To encourage the integration of scientific medical practice with Islamic practice, including arranging for prayers, preaching, and terminal care for Muslim patients.
· To distribute medical literature.
· To establish hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, and medical training schools.
· To encourage the training of Muslims in all medical fields.
· To promote health care in the community using the mosque and other appropriate fora.
· To promote good relations with other Islamic organizations at home and abroad, including other Islamic medical institutions.
· To raise funds and establish projects for carrying out these objectives.
The Islamic Medical Association of Uganda(IMAU) was established in 1988 to provide support to Muslim health professionals. It aims to improve the health of the people of Uganda in general, and the Muslim community in particular.
The idea for the association originated with three Muslim doctors who shared with each other the professional alienation they experienced in a country where Muslims are a minority. The three doctors had worked with medical associations in the United States, Europe, and Arab countries and noted how these groups helped reduce an individuals sense of isolation.
A meeting in a private home with 30 health professionals from across the country grew into an association that today has over 300 members.
In the beginning, IMAU established Saidina Abubakar, a modest nursing home and medical unit next to their headquarters in Kampala. Since then, IMAU has laid the foundation for an Islamic hospital, supported family planning services in 17 Islamic health centres, organized conventions on topics related to Islam and medicine, provided financial support to medical students, and pioneered the first AIDS prevention programme for Ugandas Muslim community.
IMAU project staff pose with the Mpigi District Khadi. Rear, L-R: Tatu Nalunga, Nakyanjo Neema, Sheikh Ibrahim Nkangi (Mpigi District Kadhi), Haji Rashid Munyagwa, Twaha Swanyana, Dr Yusuf Walakira. Front, L-R: Sarah Namugga, Abdul Karim Mpagi.
The misery and human suffering that AIDS brings is a serious concern for Muslim leaders. In September of 1989, IMAU took the lead in uniting the Muslim response to the AIDS epidemic by holding a National AIDS Education Workshop. This workshop, funded by the Ministry of Healths AIDS Control Programme and the World Health Organization, shaped the Muslim communitys role in responding to the AIDS epidemic.
The National Workshop boasted the attendance of every District Khadi in Uganda, as well as representatives from WHO, the Ministry of Health, and many Muslim health professionals. Perhaps the most important participant was His Eminence the Chief Khadi, who was prompted to declare a Jihad on AIDS. This declaration of support from the highest level of Ugandas Muslim community was a critical first step in mobilizing the Muslim community in the fight against AIDS.
Following the National Workshop, IMAU organized AIDS education workshops for Imams in several districts. Extensive dialogue between health professionals and religious leaders at these early workshops revealed the need to design an AIDS education project to reach Muslim families through educators trained with and sanctioned by Imams.