Ministry of Health engages faith leaders on Polio Vaccine

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The Ministry of Health has called on Faith leaders in the country to encourage people in their churches and communities to get their children vaccinated in the second phase of Polio Immunization campaign which will begin on 13th and end on 16th September, 2023.

Speaking at a meeting with Faith leaders, Deputy Minister of Health Halima Daudi, said as a ministry they thought it wise to meet the Faith leaders because they are part of the society and as a Ministry they work hand in hand with them in as far as health issues are concerned and Polio is one of them.

She added that the objective of the meeting was just to encourage them to assist the Ministry with the message of Polio vaccination campaign.

“This meeting is very important as you know these Faith leaders play a very big role in disseminating messages to the community.

“Muslims meet on Fridays and they tell their congregants what is happening all about the Vaccine so that people should go and get vaccinated. Saturday to Sundays people go to church and they are told in the churches to go and get vaccinated. By bringing together all the Faith leaders it’s going to help us as Government especially the Ministry of Health to make sure that the information has gone to the right people,” said Daudi.

Daudi also noted that Faith leaders hold a unique position of influence and trust within the communities and they also play a crucial role in promoting health.

She added that their influence and reach extend deeper than any other institution and it is this influence that can help the Ministry to achieve its goal of polio-free Malawi.

“I ask you, our faith Leaders, to leverage your networks, promote awareness, and encourage parents and caregivers to take part in this mass vaccination campaign. Your endorsement of this vaccination campaign and advocacy hold immense power, instilling trust in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine,” said Daudi.

She then assured the Faith leaders that Government is committed to conducting a successful campaign as they have dedicated resources, trained healthcare workers and a comprehensive plan in place to ensure the smooth execution of the vaccination campaign.

Speaking on behalf of Faith Leaders, Saiti Jambo who is the Chairperson of Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association (MIAA) board said the meeting was very important to them as Faith leaders to come together and listen to what others can share so that they can help in the eradication of polio in the country.

He added that as Faith leaders they are going to encourage one another to spread, disseminate the message for people to get vaccination.

“We want to work together, even those who are reluctant to get medication from hospitals to encourage them to protect their children from Polio. You will recall that every one of us has scars that demonstrates that we got vaccinated before. So it is not a strange thing for somebody to get vaccination for polio. So we will encourage every Malawian who go to church to receive the vaccination,” said Jambo.

The Ministry of Health will start the second phase of Polio Immunization campaign to children below the age of 15 and the second phase will begin from 13th to 16tu September, 2023.

The campaign is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) mandate on the need to vaccinate children under the age of 15 against Polio.