“We, the legal representatives of religious confessions of Katanga are committed alongside UNICEF, the Ministries of Health and Education to fight all evils that increase the morbidity and mortality rate of children and mothers “.
It is in these terms that the legal representatives of five religions, namely, the Catholic Church, the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC), the Muslim community of the Congo, the Kimbanguiste Church (EJCSK), and revivalist churches have (ERC) expressed during the official launch Saturday, October 10, 2015 Awareness Campaign on water, hygiene and sanitation.
The campaign’s objective is to promote hand-washing practices, latrine use and consumption of treated water among members of the religious community and support them in taking full ownership of these practices.In a country like the DRC where most citizens are actively religious, the Church remains an essential persuasion channel, the doctor in charge of hygiene, water and sanitation in the Health Provincial Division of DPS Katanga.
Dr Franck Bitilasi urges all stakeholders to take an all-out commitment for health. “I would like to take this opportunity to request again, the involvement of the representatives of the five religious denominations at ecclesiastic districts ecclesiastical territories, and of all health authorities at the provincial health divisions, Health Zones and Health Areas, so that all the people in various organizations can put all the chances on our side and lead a successful campaign quantitatively and qualitatively” he adds.
Based on the numbers, the Institutional Health Body recognizes that Katanga as a whole as well as its four new provinces, has a very low rate of correct hand-washing practice ( 1.6%), a low rate tin the use of sanitary latrines and an insufficient number of households using clean treated water. All of which contributes to the persistence of epidemics.
This campaign is therefore an effective answer to these recurring health problems. Thus seven Health Zones were prioritized according to their vulnerability to diarrheal diseases, and were chosen to intensify outreach activities. These include the Health Zones of Kasenga, Kambove, Lubudi, Bukama, malemba, kinkonja and Mufunga Sapwe. It is in these Health Zones and schools that proximity sensitization activities are taking place, during sermons, door to door visits, and discussions within church groups. Radio programmes will be organized with the support of priests, pastors and leaders of women’s and youth groups.
The different confessional communities welcomed this initiative. “Be the government assured of the full support of religious denominations in the implementation of this project which aims to shield our respective coreligionists from the inherent risks in “dirty hands” diseases” insisted Monsignor Bishop of the Church Kapya Ntumba of Christ in Congo (ECC).
UNICEF, technical and financial partner of this campaign reminded the audience through its office manager that in the DRC the involvement of the churches is essential for effectively changing behaviors in communities. “That faith leaders at all levels should actively get involved in this campaign by providing not only key messages but also teach appropriate behavior to communities” said Mirko Forni, office manager of UNICEF Katanga.
Consuming treated water, hand-washing with running water and soap or ash, and using hygienic latrines, should always be rules in life.
Adriana Calle Jorda
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