A group of clergymen and gospel artists in Turkana County have vowed to integrate HIV/Aids messages in their works as a way of boosting awareness among the faithful.
The declaration by the team was formally read as resolutions for the New Year 2020 and a commitment by the faith led groups and artists to follow in the biblical teachings of Hosea 4:6 which says, “My people perish due to lack of knowledge.”
“We shall use the pulpit, the stage and music to tell people about HIV information that is correct and precise. It will be the best way to complement efforts by the County’s department of Health and HIV program partners in the region,” said Apostle Moses Eiton who is a renowned gospel artist and preacher.
The one day meeting where the resolution was made had been organised by the caucus of clergy in collaboration with the local Ministry of Health and a Usaid funded HIV service delivery project dubbed ‘AMPATHPlus’.
The forum was meant to create a platform for engaging the clergy as a critical partner in the war against the scourge in a round table discussion at Kanamkemer Primary school in Lodwar on Tuesday.
For a long time, community social structures have been utilized by stakeholders to reach the key decision makers in any given society, who will act as agents of change in respect to various advocacy messages.
During the meeting, the participating clergy and gospel artists were exposed to the recently introduced HIV/Aids messages manual for use in their faith led gatherings and religious functions.
According to a HIV/Aids Program Mobiliser, Paul Ekal, the teaching given to the participating clergy and artists was to place them at an advantaged position of counseling and advising congregants in their respective gatherings on matters concerning HIV.
Speaking during the meeting, the officer in charge of communication at AMPATHplus, Sammy Keter said, “All of us may not be infected but in one way or the other we are affected by HIV through our friends and relatives who may be suffering from the same. The need to explore the use of churches and gospel music is therefore a step in the right direction of expanding our reach of all the infected and affected persons.”
During the forum, voluntary medical male circumcision came out as one of the key areas in the fight against HIV, which can be embraced in totality to reduce in a big way the prevalence rate of HIV infections.
Ekal, who is in- charge of mobilization in Turkana Central and Loima sub counties, called upon all the religious leaders to join hands with the other stakeholders in the fight towards reducing HIV prevalence rate to a point of no infections.
The meeting unanimously agreed that HIV is a manageable condition that can be addressed fully, once stakeholders are united both in action and purpose.
By Peter Gitonga