Build COVID-19 messages into sermons, health expert urges religious leaders

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AN expert on Health Education, Dr. Doris Nria, has appealed to religious leaders in Rivers to educate their congregation on dangers and preventive measures on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nria made the plea at a Facilitators’ training workshop on sensitisation of religious leaders on COVID-19 preventive measures in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

She urged them to also include messages on COVID-19 and its prevention in their sermons.

Nria also stated that many people within religious circles were still living in denial on the reality of the pandemic.

The health educator urged the religious leaders to let their members know that they did not need to see a loved one got infected with the virus for them to acknowledge the ravaging effect of COVID-19.

She said: “You want a family member to be down with COVID before you believe? That is the question we should put to them (people still living in denial).

“So, we have to make sure that we pass messages that will touch the lives of our people. In our messages as Christians; in our Mosques, we have to build in messages of COVID-19 into our sermons so that our people will come out of this spirit of denial and rejection.

“Declarations like `God forbid! It is not my portion!’, should not be what they do, particularly when they have not really observed the rules on how to live to make sure that they do not get infected.’’

Nria stated that their position as leaders of a significant population of people made it mandatory for leaders of faith-based organisations to ensure that COVID-19 prevention messages got to their followers.

Speaking at the occasion, Chairman of `Faith for Life Project’, Rev. Felix Ekiye, said that the training was to ensure that more than 80 percent of the congregation in churches was duly sensitised on COVID-19 protocols and preventive measures.

Also, UNICEF’s Consultant on Communication for Development, Mrs. Glory Odu-Oji, said that religious leaders were better positioned to pass on whatever they got at the training to their followers.

She said: “The government and UNICEF are depending on you to pass on the COVID-19 prevention messages to your followers in order to curtail infection.’

NAN

– July 29, 2020 14:45 GMT |

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