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Association to train 18,000 clerics on malaria prevention in Akwa Ibom

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Mosquito-netsThe Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association (NIFAA), an NGO, says it will train 18,000 clerics in Akwa Ibom on the use of long lasting insecticidal nets and other malaria preventive commodities.

The Executive Director of NIFAA, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, announced this in Uyo on Thursday while flagging off training of religious leaders on the nets.

Onuoha explained that the training would be done in phases with the first batch of 310 drawn 10 each from the 31 local government areas of the state.

The director said that training the clergymen would promote the correct use of the nets and acceptability of other malaria preventive consumables.

“We, the faith leaders, are divine, our members believe in us more than even the doctors and the political leaders.

“It is better for us to do naming ceremony and child dedication instead of conducting burial for our children on account of malaria attack,” Onuoha said.

He, therefore, urged the religious leaders to preach also on malaria prevention each Friday in Mosques and each Sunday in Churches.

Declaring the training session open, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Emem Bassey, commended the religious leaders for partnering with the ministry and other healthcare providers to fight malaria.

Bassey, who represented Gov. Godswill Akpabio, said that the state government with the help of development partners distributed 2.7 million malaria treated nets last December.

The commissioner noted that the involvement of faith organisations in healthcare delivery was highly commendable because the religious leaders would be exposed to the right information for their members.

“Too many deliveries had been done in churches and the result had been high maternal mortality,” Bassey lamented.

He also called on religious leaders to encourage their members to patronise government health facilities.

“In most of our public health facilities, where malaria commodities are available, the drugs stayed and expired in stores without demand from the people.

“By giving the right information, preaching the right sermon and living as role models, the religious leaders can help reduce the scourge of malaria and other diseases,” Bassey said.

The state Programme Manager, National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr John Orok, said that the state achieved 97.8 per cent level of nets distribution last December.

Orok said that testing and treatment for malaria in government health facilities in the state was free.

He enjoined the religious leaders to encourage their members, especially pregnant women, to patronise public health facilities for malaria treatment.

In his goodwill message, the representative of Akwa Ibom chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Ekom Robert, appreciated the partnership with the religious bodies on healthcare delivery.

Robert said that the training had afforded the leaders of Christians and Muslims the opportunity to meet to discuss freely on issue of common interest.

He called for prayers for the success of the programme and the healthcare projects in the country.

On his part, the Chief Imam of Uyo Mosque, Alhaji Mohammed Adamu, thanked the organisers of the programme and promised to educate his members on proper use of preventive malaria consumables.

Mohammed said that Muslim community in the state had participated effectively in the last nets distribution and collection exercise.


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