September 08, 2015
Engaging religious leaders for improving mother and child health
Engagement with religious leaders under Empowerment Voice and Accountability for Better Health and Nutrition (EVA BHN) project aims to improving household decision-making and behaviors for health by influencing men’s involvement. This engagement will specifically contribute towards increasing knowledge and capacity of citizens to exercise choice in and demand for quality RMNCH and Nutrition services.
Nowshera is one of twelve project districts where almost sixty religious leaders were mapped in thirty rural Union Councils. Center conducted first meeting with nearly half of them in the month of June. The second meeting was held on September 08, 2015, in which 25 religious leaders most of them belonging to tehsil Pabbi of Nowshera participated.
Mr Tahir Abbas from CCPP welcomed all the participants and introduced them with Center, its core competence and ongoing project. He particularly briefed about the past experience of Center’s working with religious leaders. He explained the purpose of that meeting and how religious leaders could help in supporting EVA BHN by educating their followers on improving health seeking behaviours.
Maulana Muhammad Sharif Hazarvi, member of Central Council of Religious Leaders, highlighted importance of health in Islam and particularly discussed health of mother and children in light of the references from Quran and Hadith. He explained that Islam is not all about five times prayers; it is a complete code of life which guides Muslims on every social issue as well. Islam demands husbands to take care of their wives who are pregnant and likewise it emphasize on taking care of children right of citizens.
Farooq Khan from EVA BHN KP office also addressed the participants and presented brief introduction of EVA BHN project and purpose of the project. He told that infant and mother mortality rate of Pakistan was higher as compared to regional countries. With the support of facts and figures, he explained that situation of mother and child health was not satisfactory in Pakistan. He went on to say that we needed to demand better health services and hold the responsible accountable for providing those services. The project EVA BHN was all about that.
On this occasion, Mufti Shaukat Ullah, a religious leader of district Nowshera, also spoke to the participants and asked them to continue educating public on social issues such as health of mother and children. He also mentioned that religious leaders of district Nowshera would be available for all support to improving lives of mother and children in their communities by educating masses and participating in different forums formed under EVA BHN for generating demands on rights of mother and child health.