BARMM health execs launch ‘fatwa’ on immunization
COTABATO CITY — To address the concerns of Muslim parents over vaccination, especially issues involving their faith, the Ministry of Health on Tuesday issued an Islamic ruling or “fatwa” on immunization across the autonomous region.
The fatwa aims to help promote vaccination to Muslims as a safe and efficient way to prevent common diseases, according to Dr. Safrullah Dipatuan, health minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The fatwa was approved by 13 Muslim religious leaders of the Regional Darul Ifta. A ceremonial signing was held before its official launch on the same day.
“Immunization prevents deaths and suffering from vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus, polio, pneumonia, hepatitis, diphtheria, rubella, and mumps,” Dipatuan said, adding that saving lives is a holy act that “we must do as an act of faith.”
It seeks to promote vaccination as a safe and efficient way to prevent some common diseases in the Bangsamoro region.
He noted that the most effective way to prevent diseases and death is the vaccination of children.
Data from BARMM’s Ministry of Health showed that as of March 10 about 45,598 infants and children had received anti-measles vaccine shots across the region.
It said measles cases in the region decreased to 361 confirmed cases this year, compared to 1,260 cases during the same period last year.
With the support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas, MOH deputy minister, said the MOH has asked the Regional Darul Ifta to come out with the fatwa after discovering that many parents in the region ”tend to refuse immunization because they were unsure if vaccination was consistent with their faith.”
In September last year, the MOH and the UNICEF conducted two conferences — one for the island provinces and another for the mainland provinces – and issued a fatwa on the legitimacy of vaccination and the evidence found in the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah.
Dr. Abas assured that immunization is permissible from the Islamic perspective and that “the vaccines are halal.”
“The best gift we can give to our child is full immunization certificate,” Farid Dastgeer, child protection specialist of UNICEF, said during the launching.
With the fatwa on immunization, the MOH-BARMM hopes to increase the immunization rate across the Bangsamoro region.
“Vaccination should be approved by the World Health Organization, the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines, Department of Health, and Ministry of Health to ensure that the vaccines are proven to be safe,” Sheik Abdulmuhmin Mujahid said.
He added that the Imam (Islamic leader) can include the fatwa on immunization during the Khutbah (Muslim sermon). /ee
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