Religious leaders in Nasarawa State have promised to carry members of their congregations along in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis (TB).
This was their resolve after a one-day advocacy meeting organized by Breakthrough Action Nigeria, a non-governmental organization, with leaders of some faith-based organizations in Nasarawa State.
The meeting which held Tuesday September 21, 2021 at Ta’al Conference Hotel in Lafia, was attended by leaders of faith-based organizations such as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS) and the Voice of Islam.
Prominent amongst these religious leaders were the Nasarawa State CAN Chairman, Very Reverend Dr. Sunday Emmah and the Secretary of the JNI in Nasarawa State, Imam Mohammed Ali.
Making their presentations at the end of the meeting, the religious leaders promised to sensitize their members through their sermons, workshops and seminars especially on the methods of preventing and controlling malaria and tuberculosis and the availability free tests and treatment for tuberculosis.
They also said they will advise wealthy members of their congregations to make financial contributions towards renovating dilapidated health facilities and also to purchase consumables and commodities in these health facilities.
Earlier on, while delivering a welcome address on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Nasarawa State Ministry of Health, Pharmacist Emmanuel Yona commended the organizers of the event, Breakthrough Action Nigeria for their role in raising awareness and fighting the scourge of malaria and tuberculosis in Nigeria.
He urged the participants to be very attentive and ask questions where necessary so at the end of the day, they will be better equipped to give authentic and appropriate information and advice to their members on their health especially as it concerns tuberculosis and malaria.
On his own part, Project Coordinator Community Mobilization of Breakthrough Action Nigeria, Oluseyi Akintola who spoke on the role of religious leaders and faith-based organizations in health, said religious leaders are very important in the development of nations as they have a lot of members who trust them and listen to them.
He said that Breakthrough Action Nigeria decided to take advantage of the strategic positions the religious leaders occupy in the society to fill some gaps that exist in the system. Some of the gaps he mentioned include dispelling of ignorant views, rumours, myths, stigmatization and misconceptions.
Oluseyi Akintola also charged the religious leaders to promote positive messages such as the importance of testing all suspected fever cases before commencing treatment, going to a competent health facility to test for tuberculosis when cough persists for more than two weeks and adhering to the full course of treatment for both malaria and tuberculosis among others.