April 13, 2021

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NMA wants FG to involve traditional, religious leaders in COVID-19 vaccine sensitisation

NMA wants FG to involve traditional, religious leaders in COVID-19 vaccine sensitisation

NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has urged Federal Government to involve traditional and religious leaders in sensitising the public to accept the COVID-19
vaccine as the country awaits the vaccines arrival.

The NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, made the call in an interview with the newsmen in Abuja.

He said that the call followed hints of rejection of the COVID-19 vaccine by some Nigerians.

He stressed the need to involve stakeholders such as traditional rulers, religious leaders, politicians, opinion leaders and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to engage their audience on the imperative of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ujah noted that there would always be controversies to newly introduced issues, hence the need for sensitisation at all levels to accept the vaccine.

The president recalled that in the early 2000, there were controversies surrounding polio vaccine, which was done to curb polio disease.

He explained that “it took the then administrators of Primary Health Care Development Agency and other agencies to involve traditional and religious leaders before people started taking the vaccine.

“You know there are all sorts of interpretation regarding the polio vaccine in that case. It became a challenge, so, we need to use the traditional institution to pass the message.

“I think it is important we look at that before it snowballs into serious crisis and the purpose of getting the vaccine becomes defeated,” he said.

He maintained that the NMA supported the COVID-19 vaccine, noting that it would provide succor to people.

He, therefore, stressed the need to first administer the vaccine, when available, to frontline health workers and those in isolation centres.