Faiths Act Commemorates World Malaria Day
24 Apr 2015
Every year, to mark World Malaria Day, Faiths Act supports religious leaders across Sierra Leone to spread the government's key anti-malaria messages within their communities. For our network of religious leaders, the need to provide their congregations with life-saving messages is even more crucial.
This week, a study in the Lancet explained that the effect the ongoing Ebola epidemic is having on the already strained health system has likely caused thousands of additional cases and deaths from malaria. As communities strive to return to normality, after a devastating epidemic, the unique attributes of faith leaders – trust, wide networks and reach to poor and marginalized areas – puts religious leaders in a unique place to make an impactful contribution to changing and maintaining healthy behaviours within their communities.
This weekend, religious leaders, trained by Faiths Act to be Malaria Faith Ambassadors, will therefore incorporate the following messages into the sermons and khutbahs delivered during Friday and Sunday services:
- Sleep under a treated bednet every night
- Protect our pregnant women
- Act quickly when you or your child has fever
- Clear away pools of water
The theme set by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) for 2013 to 2015 is 'Invest in the future, Defeat malaria'. As a majority of Sierra Leoneans consider themselves to be religious, places of worship are a good place to scale up health messaging. Religious leaders who have mourned the loss of their congregants or looked on in fear for their own communities are eager to halt and reverse the spread of infectious disease within their communities.
One of our faith leaders from Makeni (the second largest city in Sierra Leone) said, 'It is our prayer and wish that this deadly disease will be finally removed from this our beloved country. We have already spread the key messages to the districts around us and this weekend, many churches and mosques will be preaching this message of hope and life.'