IRCH and WHO-Pakistan collaborate to raise awareness on health issues
Inter Religious Council for Health (IRCH) and World Health Organization (WHO) jointly arranged a two-day training workshop for religious leaders here to take religious leaders on board in raising awareness on important health issues, particularly dengue and malaria.
The objective of the workshop was to build up collaboration between WHO-Pakistan and Inter Religious Council for
Health (IRCH), for Social Mobilization of the human network of Mosque-Imams, in selected districts of Pakistan for health risks reduction and hygiene promotion.
Members of World Health Organization (WHO) and Central Committee including participants from 29 selected districts of IRCH across Pakistan participated in the training workshop. Mr. Att-ur-Rehman, President IRCH and Ms. Simona Seravesi, Social Mobilizer and Dr Sumaia Alfadil, MNCH officer, from WHO addressed the inaugural session of the training workshop. The speakers eloquently highlighted objectives of the workshop and importance of the religious leaders for coherent and enhanced community participation in raising awareness on health issues across Pakistan.
The health experts termed the inclusion of the religious leaders in social mobilization campaign mandatory as the religious leaders have social network and communities hold their opinion in high esteem.
The training workshop included sessions of presentations by health experts on immunization, Tobacco, Dengue,
Environmental health and hygiene and group work.
The main goal of this collaboration between the IRCH and WHO was to initiate a partnership aiming to create awareness raising among communities in different provinces on major health risks and environmental health issues. In this regard, the role of the religious leaders would be essential in strengthening the capacity of communities to better address health risks and empower the communities.
The main objectives of collaboration are to communicate key health messages effectively to the communities, in order to enable them to differentiate between right and wrong practices, and also help in creating awareness about routine procedures and willingness to adopt behavioural change tactics, disseminate ad hoc health messages in case of an alert response and raising the level of awareness in order to encourage and support Disaster Preparedness within communities.
As a part of the advocacy campaign, broachers and leaflets, info kits/booklets will be developed and distributed among public with key messages through the religious leaders
One important thrust in WHO-Pakistan is to launch and/or support evidence-based social mobilization activities using multiple and integrated communication approaches, such as mass media including indigenous media and interpersonal communication (group and one-on-one). For this reason WHO Pakistan has been collaborating with other UN agencies and Implementing Partners to reach out to the community and anticipate higher turnout of the humanitarian assistance. WHO-Pakistan, also realizes that to have greater impact of humanitarian assistance, community participation should be promoted among the flood affected population as this shall enhance community's decision making skills and awareness level of the community.
For this reason, sensitization of Religious Leaders, on factors preventing health risks will be achieved by way of creating community awareness and entitlement through specific interventions. Hence WHO Pak is collaborating with the IRCH to mobilize their human network of Mosque-imams. Also similar training workshops will be held at provincial and district level in the coming months. The workshop concluded on a positive note and commitment by both organizations to work together in advocating important health issues at different tiers.