Held by Women’s Forum for Research and Training in cooperation with Yemen Times -Taiz:A Seminar on effects of Poverty and AIDS on Society [Archives:2004/726/Reportage]

April 5 2004

Taiz Bureau
Yemen Times

Women's Forum for Research and Training (WFRT) in cooperation with the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) and Yemen Times organized during 30-31 of March in Taiz City, a forum entitled, “Poverty and Aids and their effects on society”.
The Forum was participated in by an elite of specialists and researchers presenting working papers on Aids, its effects on women, and how Islam approaches the prevention of Aids, poverty and development.
The first day of the forum reviewed a working paper presented by Dr. Saeed Nouman on Preventive Measures of Aids. Another by Mr. Emad Al-Saqqaf, Editor-in-Chief of Family and Development Magazine, entitled, “Information and its role in awareness of the dangers of Aids”, was delivered on his behalf by Mr. Fkri Qassem, Editing Director of the magazine. The first day concluded with enlightening comments on roles of mosque preachers in pointing out the dangers of Aids.
On the second day, the forum heard a working paper of Dr. Mohamed Qahtan entitled, “Poverty, features and reasons and the roles of NGOs in combating it”, and a similar one by Mr. Abdullah Najy on poverty in Yemen and available development resources.
Discussions brought out the positive role played by the forum. Participants and attendants then toured the art exhibition of works by artist Rasha Ahmed, creative handcrafts made by Ms. Soad Abdul Qawe, cartoon sketches on poverty and Aids and works on violence against woman, as well as listening to songs from Al-Noras band,.
Yemen Times, following the forum, sought the views of some of participants and opinions of some of audiences in order to find what comes after the seminar and what could be achieved by the working papers. Dr. Emad Al-Saqqaf said that the seminar has achieved its objective as it has determined the causes and solutions to Aids. All that remains is the practical implementation. As far as our Family Magazine is concerned, it will fulfill its end of the bargain by utilizing the magazine to disseminate the informative message of the outcome of the seminar. The working paper of the magazine focused on Aids and youths, the hope for better future and called for providing them with opportunities for education, jobs and a better life, and to create new job opportunities to enable them to settle down and to get married. The State and civil society organizations and various media organisations are urged to find practical solutions to the issue of exorbitant dowries, which occasionally lead males and females into unsafe behavior and illegal relationships with potential risk of Aids infection. Paying attention to our youths, says Al-Saqqaf, will kill their free time and keep them on the correct path and eliminate the motives for their deviation.
Dr. Emad Al-Saqqaf added that no harm or disrespect was intended by our working paper in stating that Yemeni Embassies and Consulates abroad assist in the spread of Aids, but to bring the issue to their attention to increase scrutiny of the health issues, and to demand health certificates from those wishing to visit Yemen, since this requirement is legal and normally practiced by all foreign embassies. The same can be applied to airports and seaports. He also stated that the inappropriate practices of local hospitals, labs and blood banks ignorantly contribute in the spread of Aids, especially those seeking financial gains at the cost of public safety and spreading fatal diseases because of the lack of effective monitoring. Some citizens end up paying a high price by getting infected with this virus while seeking medical treatment from ordinary illness.
The working paper also touched on the tourism aspect. As much as it provides the country with hard currencies, tourism if not realistically monitored could backfire tremendously.
Mr. Ameen Al-Maktary, who participated in the seminar on behalf of Yemen Socialist Party, agreed to the connection between poverty and Aids. He added that WFRT must have a commendation for staging a candid and coherent discussion meeting on an important and vital issue such as Aids and poverty, especially in light of the official and public silence towards the danger of spreading a base for Aids. In fact, there should have been more time to discuss and to crystallize ideas and solutions from all working papers presented.
In spite of the success of the forum, Mr. Al-Maktary had hoped for more media coverage of the seminar and participation of more experts and specialists who could not make it to the forum. Furthermore, he felt that special attention ought to be given to the working paper of Mohamed Qahtan, which possessed genuine scientific findings and reflected a true image of the situation of poverty in Yemen and benefited from his common sense approach in connecting family resources and expenditures.