Religious leaders, the world over, have been at the forefront of promoting morals and preaching against evils in society. However, there is a lot more they can do.
It was great to learn that religious leaders under the Rwanda Interfaith Network against HIV/Aids, have extended their mandate and started a crusade against infectious diseases, to ensure the welfare of their congregation.
Religious leaders are among the key opinion leaders in society and their word can contribute to change. The fight against diseases has a lot to do with behavior change and since the clergy can influence it, then they should take on the role.
There have been cases where some religious leaders were reluctant to influence behavior change, claiming that it conflicts with their faith.
While it is important to respect people’s religious beliefs, let us not under-estimate the importance of promoting the well being of the people. Many of the diseases are a result of ignorance, but through awareness behaviours will change and people will live healthy and happy lives.
This strategy has been successful in the fight against HIV/AIDS and it should be extended to not only other diseases, but other development programmes as well.