Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association, NIFAA, has said that it would train at least 18, 000 clerics in Akwa Ibom state on the use of insecticidal nets and other malaria preventive materials.
Executive Director of NIFAA, Bishop Sunday Onuoha announced this in Uyo yesterday while flagging off the training of religious leaders on the use of long lasting insecticidal nets, LLINs.
Onuoha explained that the training would be done in phases with the first batch of 310 to be drawn from the 31 local government areas of the state.
The training, the director explained, would promote the correct use of the insecticidal 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 explained.
Declaring the training session open, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Emem Bassey, thanked the religious leaders for partnering with the ministry and other healthcare providers to fight malaria.
Bassey, who represented the state governor, Chief 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 therefore urged religious leaders to encourage their members to patronise government health facilities.
“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.
In his presentation, the state Programme Manager, National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr John Orok, said that the state achieved 97.8 percent level of nets distribution last December.
In his goodwill message, the representative of Akwa Ibom chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Bishop Ekom Robert, said that the partnership with the church on healthcare was commendable.
On his part, the Chief Imam of Uyo Mosque, Alhaji Mohammed Adamu promised to educate his members on proper use of insecticidal nets and expressed satisfaction that the Moslem community in the state participated effectively in the last nets distribution and collection exercise.

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