Religious leaders promote male participation in HIV/AIDS elimination
The leadership of the two major religions in Taraba state are presently leaving no stone unturned to Promote male involvement in the Elimination of Mother-To-Child Transmission (eMTCT) of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the state.
The clerics who are as well effectively using their position to encourage pregnant women in their congregations to assess Anti-Natal Care (ANC) facilities in their various domains believed they have great roles to play in preventing the spread of the epidemics.
Speaking with The Guardian, the senior Pastor of the Daystar Covenant Assembly, Tony Garba Dorofi, said the church is doing all thing possible to educate its members on the important of assess HIV/AIDS facilities in the state.
According to him “ in the church what I preach and teach is for the pregnant women to always go for ANC check” adding that “ I always refer them to the Jalingo specialist hospital.”
Noting that the church prefers the specialist hospital for its members to assess for any form of test and treatment, the church as stated by him “ discouraged its members from patronizing private hospitals.”
This according to him was necessitated following the ill practices going on in private hospital scattered across the state some of whom in his word “ have lose their ethical procedures.”
Though the church has not ceased praying for pregnant women but the need for the women to as well play their roles, he said can no longer be overemphasized stating that “ even though I will pray for them, I must make sure I see the reports of their ANC.”
Apart from the financial supports he said the church often rendered pregnant mothers, the church as made known by him, go extra legitimate miles to “ encourage male partners to accompany their wives to ANC and labour rooms.”
Citing parts of the book of Job, the church, he said “ always encourages discordant couples to stay together happily without any form of discrimination stating that “ it is a natural phenomenon, accept your wife and comfort her. If it happens we go into prayers, we counsel them to see reasons why they should stay together because it is not death sentences and it’s not the end of their lives.”
The church as further made known by him preaches and teaches “ against stigmatization and discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS” stressing that “ every disease in the world is contagious and can be transmitted.”
Calling on churches all over to as a matter of urgency take cue by educating their members that “ HIV/AIDS is not an airborne disease” he noted that “ it s useless stigmatize HIV/AIDS person.”
Aligning his weight to that of Dorofi, an Islamic Cleric, Kadir Umar, said “ Islam is against discrimination or stigmatization of persons living with any kind of disease”
“In the Mosque where I presides, I took it as a responsibility to encourage our males worshippers to follow their wives to hospitals during ANC days and I thank the Almighty Allah that majority of them are adhering to that.”
Unlike Dorofi that encourages worshippers to patronized specialist hospital and eschew private hospital, Umar said “ we asked them to patronized good hospitals and not any how hospitals.”
The Mosque according to him is at the forefront of promoting male participation in the elimination of HIV/AIDS “ by charging all of them to try and know their status as that would go a long way to minimize the spread.”
Other clerics from both religions who made their minds known to our reporter on the aforementioned issues also beckoned at the state government to intensify sensitization campaign in the nooks and crannies of the state as well as in the Internally Displaced Persons camps.
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