The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised Nigerians to pay attention to the elderly and persons battling with chronic diseases as the third wave of COVID-19 spreads.

The CDC is supporting the Nigerian government to ramp up engagement with religious leaders to encourage their members to get vaccinated and continue to practice safe measures.

The U.S. CDC-supported Messages of Hope Project is leveraging the influence of clerics to promote the use of facemasks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, isolation, cancelation of large gatherings, and vaccine acceptance.

U.S. CDC Nigeria Country Director, Dr. Mary Adetinuke Boyd addressed the key stakeholders at a workshop on COVID-19 messages and presentation of information and communication materials.

She urged religious leaders to mobilize their counterparts and members to take measures to protect themselves, families and congregations, using the scriptures to buttress recommended actions.

Boyd urged them to celebrate survivors and discourage stigmatization of those who improve or recover from coronavirus.

The official emphasized the need to mobilize faith community members to accept COVID-19 vaccines when it becomes available to them.

“I encourage you to protect vulnerable members of your communities, such as the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases,” Boyd added.

The Messages of Hope Project engages Muslim and Christian religious leaders and groups in reaching members of their communities and beyond.

The U.S. CDC, through the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) and the Nigeria Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA), is supporting Nigeria’s engagement with clerics in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos, Kaduna, Rivers, Gombe and Enugu.

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