In a bid to reinforce the promotion of health and prevention of diseases, the Ministry of Health has embarked on engaging religious leaders as key players in the strategy, due to their mandate and capability in reaching out to grass root communities as regards sensitization.
Preventable diseases such as malaria, Hepatitis B among others, the Ministry of Health noted, would no longer be a burden if people took full responsibly of their health and thus the need for massive sensitization.
During the National Heath Symposium with the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) held yesterday at the Health Ministry grounds attended by various Muslim leaders, Dr Diana Atwine, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary said that due to the huge burden of diseases, the Ministry requires religious leaders to spread the message of disease prevention to their followers.
“We realised that you are the voice of the people and people listen to you, trust and believe in you and they know that you tell them what benefits them,” Dr. Atwine said.
She noted that one of the characteristics of development is a healthy population and a healthy population comes only when they are empowered with the knowledge to make sure that they stay healthy.
To achieve this, Atwine said, the government and the Health Ministry are taking huge strides in elevating health care service delivery and the state of Uganda’s health facilities.
“Health is wealth. Without it, we cannot achieve whatever we do. We want Uganda to be a medical tourism destination so that people from all our neighbours can come here and get specialised services. That is why government put it as a priority to make Mulago a super specialised entity and women hospital so that we offer services,” she stated.
In his key note address, the Commissioner Health Promotion and Education, Bakyayita, said that 75% of all Uganda’s diseases are preventable and the risk factors are behavioural such as alcoholism, tobacco use, physical inactivity among others.
He noted that religious institutions have good platforms and the power to influence positive behavioural change towards prevention of diseases and promoting health.
“An individual’s behaviour is influenced by relations with family, friends, and larger society where they live. Therefore, effective behaviour change requires working within multiple environments,” he said.
His Eminence the Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, who was the guest of honour, said that Islam comprises of teachings that similarly promote health such as good hygiene and hand washing among others.
In order to eliminate preventable diseases especially malaria, the Mufti promised continued sensitization on the need to sleep under treated mosquito nets and residual spraying in the homes.
“We pledge that religious platforms will continue speaking about the benefits of spraying, sleeping under treated mosquito nets so that malaria is reduced. In addition, we will remind communities to go for early testing and treatment of malaria. Fighting malaria and covid-19 is never a role of health workers alone but everybody’s contribution,” he said.
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