To mitigate the spread of COVID 19 in Nigeria, the United States government, through its Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is supporting the government of Nigeria to increase engagement with religious leaders to encourage their members to get vaccinated and continue to practice safe measures.
The US CDC-supported Messages of Hope Project is leveraging the significant influence of religious leaders to disseminate messages that promote the use of facemasks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, quarantine and isolation, cancelation of large gatherings and vaccine acceptance, among others.
Speaking in Lagos at a workshop on COVID-19 messages and presentation of information, education and communication materials, US CDC Nigeria country director, Dr. Mary Adetinuke Boyd, urged religious leaders to serve as positive role models by mobilizing their counterparts and subjects to take proactive measures to protect themselves, their families and the congregations, using the scriptures to buttress recommended actions.
She urged the religious leaders to celebrate survivors and discourage stigmatization of those who improve or recover from the disease.
She also emphasized the need to mobilize faith community members at all levels to accept the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them to protect themselves, their families, and the rest of the congregations.
“I encourage you to protect vulnerable members of your communities such as the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases,” Dr. Boyd added.