Tina Ezin, Calabar
USAID Breakthrough Action-Nigeria (BA-Nigeria) has charged Faith-Bsed Organisations (FBOs) on the danger of self-medication on Malaria, COVID-19 and Tuberculosis treatments.
They stated this yesterday in Calabar during a 2-Day orientation workshop to highlight the roles and responsibilities of religious leaders to their members in the management of Malaria, COVID-19, Tuberculosis and other diseases of public health importance.
The Cross River State Coordinator, USAID BA-Nigeria, Dr. Kennedy Orazulike said the objective of the training was to leverage on the platform of religious leaders to reach out to more people on the danger of self-medication and that they should .
He said specifically in Cross River, there has been an increase in prevalence of Malaria, noting that with the help of religious leaders taking the message to the larger society through advocacy and sensitization of congregants, there would be a behavioral change in accessing health facilities.
“The major reasons why we decided to gather faith-based organisations because of cause seeing from the vaccine data, there has been a lot of vaccine hesitancy and there has been an increase in the prevalence of malaria in Cross River and we took it upon ourselves to drive the demand.
“the Faith-based organisations should sensitise the locals and tell them not to engage in self-medication and also behavioral change over vaccine hesitancy. We all know that 99.9 percent of Nigerians are either Christians or Muslims and we value our Imams and Pastors very much so we believe that we could use the platform to educate people on the danger of self-medication.” He said.
On his part, Director of Public Health, Cross River State, Dr. Bassey Offor, charged the Faith-Based Organisations on their role as leaders in their congregations to influence the behavioral change of members on dangers of self-medication.
He urged the religious leaders to take ten to fifteen minutes of their sermon time to preach to the congregation what they have learnt from the training on Malaria, COVID-19 and Tuberculosis, noting that this would reduce the death rate caused by those diseases.
Also speaking, Representative of the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, Sir Frank Edet said it is not out of place for religious leaders to interface with members in changing their behavior on COVID-19 hesitancy and self-medication.
The State Coordinator of Muslim Community in Cross River State, Alhaji Shaban Abdulahi, thanked BA-Nigeria for giving them opportunity to be part of the training which he promised to step down to the Muslim community in the state.
He added, “COVID-19 came up with a lot of rumours so that means we need to change our congregants perspective, they should have that change of behavior. It is good to prevent what is preventable than to manage it.”
In the same vain, Representative of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Martins Oman, appealed to other religious leaders at the workshop to step down the training to their congregations, according to him that ignorance of most people concerning their health has led to their early death.
We should do the best we can to see that we step down this training. I want to appeal to us religious leaders to please, let’s see how we can take the advocacy to our congregations with the message that self-medication is dangerous and most especially that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. And for Malaria, they should use their Insecticide Mosquito nets to prevent malaria fever.