By Goodluck Musinguzi
Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and technical teams from the Health Promotion and Education had a sensitization meeting with the Moslem Clerics the Moslem leadership based in Kampala City.
The meeting was held to empower them with information of COVID-19 and other diseases of public health importance.
She said the Focus was on how they can work together to improve urban health putting attention on prevention of COVID19 and other diseases.
Religion is an essential part of life in many parts of Uganda and the world. Ministry of Health notes that churches and mosques are many people’s social support system, and their leaders provide spiritual and emotional guidance to individuals and families through times of strife.
We work with faith leaders to convey important health information, such as the life-saving benefits of Standard Operating Procedures ,family planning and HIV services.
Engaging different religious groups is paramount in ensuring no one is left out in knowledge and information about preventable diseases.
Heightened focus on hygiene and sanitation in keeping with religious teachings and sacred texts that emphasize cleanliness as an element of holiness.
All forms of stigma and discrimination associated with transmission of the disease with active promotion of attitudes and behaviours to uphold the dignity and rights of all people.
Active engagement of networks of religious communities including faith-based women, and youth.
Spiritual and emotional care and support for parents, children, the elderly and distress in order to provide a source of support, peace, comfort and hope.
Last year , Ministry of Health engaged the Moslem Leadership when it was distributing Mosquito nets in the whole country.
Ministry of health has partnered with Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC to promote health and disease prevention.
Speaking at the National Health Symposium then with a delegation of officials from UMSC led by the Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje at the Health Ministry headquarters, Dr. Tabley Bakyaita, Assistant Commissioner Health Promotion and Education said through the partnership, they will orient the religious leaders on some of the health issues at hand and provide them with key messages to relate to their congregations at an opportune time.
Sheikh Mubaje welcomed the suggestion and assured the health ministry that religion can have an impact on disease, mortality, mobility, behavior and lifestyle change among others.
Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services noted that the ministry is also going to engage other religious leaders through the Inter Religious Council of Uganda-IRCU on the same program.
He said malaria is one of the biggest diseases reported in regional health centers, adding that over 30% of outpatient attendance is malaria, 25% of admission is still malaria yet it can easily be prevented in communities if religious leaders speak out on the procedures.
They were asked to use available communication channels like radios, televisions and others to educate people on the availability of health services, how to access them, the benefits and advocate for the promotion of health services during all religious functions.