UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid Discusses Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS in Jakarta Post Interview
The Jakarta Post on Monday published an interview with U.N. Population Fund Executive Director Thoraya Obaid, who recently was in Indonesia promoting reproductive health issues and gender equity. When asked how local Muslim religious leaders could contribute to reproductive health, Obaid said, "[Religious leaders] have to speak about maternal mortality and how women should be better treated. They have to speak about HIV/AIDS and how young people should be careful and protect themselves." She said that Muslim leaders also need to work on removing "the stigma attached to people living with HIV/AIDS," adding, "It's not enough to just say that this (promiscuity) is forbidden." When asked how some religious leaders who refuse to talk about reproductive health and HIV/AIDS could be encouraged to discuss those issues with followers, Obaid replied that although they have the right to choose not to discuss the issues, "[t]hey have a moral responsibility to point out the basic issue that women ... are dying simply because of giving birth." She added, "Mothers have a very special place in Islam. And if you let mothers die, then you are not giving them the honor that Islam demands" (Rukmantara, Jakarta Post, 11/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.