Lagos––To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the U.S. Government, through its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is supporting the Government of Nigeria to ramp up engagement with religious leaders to encourage their members to get vaccinated and continue to practice safe measures.
U.S. 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 on Thursday during a workshop on COVID-19 messages and presentation of information, education and communication materials, U.S. CDC Nigeria Country Director, Dr. Mary Adetinuke Boyd, urged religious leaders to serve as positive role models by mobilizing their counterparts and members 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 COVID-19 disease. She also emphasized the need to mobilize faith community members at all levels to accept the COVID-19 vaccines 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.
The Messages of Hope Project engages Muslim and Christian religious leaders and groups in reaching members of their communities and beyond, with messages of hope on COVID-19 incorporated in communication products adapted for use in faith settings.
Amid the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the U.S. CDC, through its implementing partner the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) and the Nigeria Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA), is supporting the Government of Nigeria’s engagement with religious leaders in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos, Kaduna, Rivers, Gombe and Enugu states to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and encourage members of faith communities to come out and receive the available COVID-19 vaccines.