Nigeria rallies over 7000 traditional leaders against COVID-19
As the second wave of COVID-19 affects the global health and economic community, the World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting government to engage strategic stakeholders as part of concerted efforts to reverse the trend of the pandemic. This engagement builds on the lessons learned from the critical role played by traditional and religious leaders in the achievement of a polio-free status in Nigeria.
“What we did during the polio eradication initiative is a testimony of our capacity to mobilize, sensitize and convince our communities in support of any public health interventions in Nigeria,” Alhaji Idris Musa, Giwa community leader in Abuja.
Recently, with WHO’s support, government engaged 7,350 traditional and religious leaders across 11 priority states to execute community-based interventions including sensitization for voluntary testing, survivors’ declaration of status during heroes’ campaign, voluntary declaration of contacts by confirmed cases and adherence to preventive measures.
“I have personally taken part in such engagements with traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders and political leaders to encourage people to turnout and reduce hesitancy. I believe that once the vaccine roll out starts and the publicity is sustained, hesitancy will gradually reduce and people will voluntarily turn up for it”, Dr Osagie Ehanire said.