Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

Starting next academic year, students at Pakistan's Dow University of Health Sciences, an undergraduate medical college, will have classes on reproductive health education included in their curriculum. It is a first in a country that has no sex education to speak of anywhere in its Islamic-centered education system. The program of study, which includes a culturally-appropriate guide for faculty and students, is a collaboration between the university and the nonprofit organization Aahung, which works with community programs that promote reproductive health in the country.

What's the Big Idea?

The influence of the Qu'ran, which prohibits sex outside marriage, is so pervasive in Pakistan that even family physicians avoid discussing sex with their patients (married or otherwise). Unfortunately, according to health advocates, this "leaves great room for misinformation, unsafe practices, uncontrolled family size, and abortion as a method of birth control." Dow's administration hopes that by adding comprehensive sex education, its graduates will be better prepared to help patients with sexual-related issues. Sikander Sohani of Aahung doesn't think there will be any hindrances to the plan: "The program is based on building clinical skills...and removes moral or religious judgments from teaching."

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