News > The Iranian National "High Blood Pressure Control Campaign” strengthens the partnerships between the public health sector and religious leaders and clerics



Report from: ZAUMS Non-Communicable Diseases Control Department

Published on: 23 June 2019

 

Among the Muslims, religious leaders are a primary source of guidance and advice. To maintain their moral authority, they strive to keep their behavior consistent with the teachings of Islam (1).

 According to the Islamic teaching there are four main principles related to health: (i) good health is a grant from Allah, (ii) one"s body is trust and must be cared for, (iii) trusting in God"s plan does not preclude taking actions to care for oneself, and (iv) community members are caretakers of one another (2).

 

Given the fact that religious leaders are close to the people in their communities, and are sought to lead on secular issues, the public health authorities in the Islamic countries are increasingly relying on them to promote healthy behaviors and encourage the people to take part in health-related programs (3).

 

When religious leaders are properly briefed and trained by trusted public health professionals, they would be able to shift their community’s opinions in support of public health activities and they can become champions of behavioral change and health communicators. Therefore the use of religious leaders and mosques can be part of novel strategies and interventions for health promotion among the Muslim society (4).

 

Culturally appropriate training for religious leaders can lead to a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, health-related issues, with the effects manifesting as increased preaching and/or counseling about these important topics (5).

 

Since 2004, the program of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) has been officially launched at the national level, including in Zahedan University of Medical Sciences (ZAUMS). CHVs are community-based volunteers who are organized in voluntary groups with a community engagement program.

 

In Sistan and Balouchestan Province,  due to the influence of clerics and people"s trust in them, with the support from religious leaders and encouraging people to join the program, many people were attracted to this program, many people Particularly women, both in the cities and villages joined health volunteers program.

 

Even some women who were restricted from and banned from social activities due to their family believes in doing so were able to join the program and to promote the health of people in the neighborhood.

 

Some of important activities carried out by religious leaders as CHVs in ZAUMS include:

- Contribution to the polio eradication campaigns

- Promoting routine immunization and other health services by delivering messages at mosques

- Information dissemination at the mosques during a TB campaign 

- Active participation in the Mother"s Health Campaign to reduce maternal mortality

- Providing a space at mosques and religious schools to establish "Neighborhood Health Houses" with the aim of educating and informing people on various health topics

- Paying visit to beta thalassemia wards and pre-marriage counseling centers and raising awareness on the ways to prevent bête Thalassemia

- Giving speeches during Fridays prayers and religious festivities on the prevention of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)

 

 

Zahedan University of Medical Sciences has enjoyed the Participation of 469 CHV clerics and religious scholars in the "National High Blood Pressure Control Campaign".

 

The most important volunteer activity of clerics and religious scholars in the campaign includes:

• Pioneering clerics and religious scholars to take part in the campaign

• Speeches in mosques to invite people to join the campaign

• Informing the religious students at the seminaries for men and women

• Raising public awareness on high blood pressure prevention and control by Friday prayer leaders on various  occasions such as  Eid al-Fitr prayers and Quds Day

• Encouraging women attending   the Religion and Life Clubs to take part in the campaign

• Participation in holding training sessions in mosques with the presence of health personnel

• Agreeing to set up free blood pressure check stations at the mosques

 

Copyright © 2019 Zahedan University of Medical Sciences. All rights reserved. Date updated: 23/06/2019.
Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us on:
zu.healthdeputy@gmail.com

 

 

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References:

1.            Freij LS. Muslim Religious Leaders as Partners in Fostering Positive Reproductive Health and Family Planning Behaviors in Yemen: A Best Practice. 2010.

2.            Padela AI, Malik S, Ahmed N. Acceptability of Friday Sermons as a Modality for Health Promotion and Education. J Immigr Minor Health. 2018;20(5):1075-84.

3.            Walker JA, Hashim Y, Oranye N. Impact of Muslim opinion leaders" training of healthcare providers on the uptake of MNCH services in Northern Nigeria. Glob Public Health. 2019;14(2):200-13.

4.            Mustafa Y, Baker D, Puligari P, Melody T, Yeung J, Gao-Smith F. The role of imams and mosques in health promotion in Western societies-a systematic review protocol. Syst Rev. 2017;6(1):25.

5.            Underwood C, Kamhawi S, Nofal A. Religious leaders gain ground in the Jordanian family-planning movement. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2013;123 Suppl 1:e33-7.

 


Date : 23/06/2019 14:28
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