As an NGO with accreditation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), AAII has the opportunity to actively participate in the planning and implementation of UNFPA programs and events and to receive support for AAII initiatives.
In 1988, with funding from UNFPA, AAII opened its Shifa-al-Asqam (Healers of the Sick) Socio-Medical Center in Medina-Kaolack, Senegal to focus on maternal and child health in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality among women and children under five years of age. In 2001, support from UNFPA enabled AAII to expand its clinic facilities to include a functioning laboratory an X-ray suite and pharmacy.
In collaboration with UNFPA, AAII convenes its annual International Islamic Conference in Banjul, The Gambia. Attended by representatives of AAII’s international Affiliates in Africa, Europe and North America, as well as local residents, Conference topics address problems of population and development as they affect women and children and have included:
- Early Pregnancy
- Malaria and Pregnancy
- Maternal and Child Health
- Breast Feeding
- Female Genital Mutiliation
AAII works to make information about primary and reproductive health available to women who might not otherwise have access to it. With the support of UNFPA, AAII infused its female-focused Adult Literacy Program with information about pre-natal care, breast feeding, family planning and immunizations. UNFPA supported the visit of AAII’s Founder and Chairman to six regions of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to raise awareness of population and health issues with Islamic leaders and communities.
AAII works with UNFPA to translate the recommendations of the Cairo Conference into acceptable practices in keeping within the realities of culture and religion. AAII holds conferences and seminars on Family Planning in Islam and collaborates with local women’s groups to disseminate information and provide access to services.
In recognition of AAII’s contribution to improved maternal and child health in West Africa, UNFPA-Senegal nominated AAII to receive the 2001 prestigious Gates Award for Public Health under the auspices of the Global Health Council. Support for AAII’s nomination was provided by the President of Senegal, the Vice President of Ghana, the UN Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Africa and the Executive Director of Sister Cities International.
In cooperation with UNFPA, Americares and the government of Zamfara State, Nigeria, AAII initiated the development of a Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF) hospital in Gafau, Nigeria.
AAII Founder and Chairman, Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse, offered the Opening Address at the UNFPA Regional Conference of Islamic Faith-Based Organizations in Abuja, Nigeria, March 14-18, 2005. The Islamic organizations attending this UNFPA conference generated the Abuja Declaration of African Islamic Faith Based Organizations. Subsequently, with UNFPA support, the Network of African Islamic Organizations for Population and Development was formed and AAII’s Founder and Chairman was elected to serve as its President.