Religious Leaders Are Stepping Up Their Role In Malaria Prevention Through Social Behavior Change Communication
Reverend Assiel Musabyimana , Bishop of Kigeme Anglican Diocese says that using the platform of religious denomination , the religious leaders are stepping up their role in encouraging community members to effectively use LLINs (Long lasting insecticidal nets), seek for early treatment , elimination of mosquito breeding sites and other malaria prevention strategies.Reverend Assiel Musabyimana , Bishop of Kigeme Anglican Diocese says that using the platform of religious denomination , the religious leaders are stepping up their role in encouraging community members to effectively use LLINs (Long lasting insecticidal nets), seek for early treatment , elimination of mosquito breeding sites and other malaria prevention strategies.
The religious leaders form the southern province have started conducting these community mobilization after the training provided to them by the Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health (RICH).
The trainings were conducted in May 2021 reached a total of 296 participants who are religious leaders from all diversity: pastors, Priests and Imams and representatives of faith based youth groups, faith based women groups.
After the capacity building provided by RICH, the religious leaders report that it has become easier form them to talk about Malaria.
The religious leaders greatly appreciated the training saying that they prefer to provide information on which they have at least basic information, this training therefore incited them to learn more about malaria and disseminate it to the attendants of their churches/mosques.
“I used to hear people doubting the efficacity and use of indoor residual Spraying but didn’t have any facts that I can use to convince them, but now, thanks to the training provided by RICH , I have enough knowledge about the functioning and impact of Indoor Residual Spraying” says Pastor Ntakirutimana Vincent from Ruhango district.
The religious leaders pledge to continue their messaging on malaria prevention and messaging with highlights on eliminating the mosquito breeding sites and seeking early treatment (in the first 24 hours) when presenting symptoms of Malaria.
The trained religious leaders also advocate for this program to reach more religious leaders because it would help reach a much bigger audience with insurance of message penetration.
These interventions done by religious leaders are part of the response done by the Rwanda Interfaith council on health on Malaria. These interventions are made thanks to funding of Global fund through the Rwanda Biomedical center. RICH is implementing this project in the southern province in all 8 districts.
This project aims at improving the understanding of the community members and ensuring that they have correct and consistent practices and behaviors towards malaria control interventions as per the 5th objective of the Malaria National Strategic Plan 2020-2024.