According to the professional psychologist, many Ghanaians have reposed confidence in their pastors and take their word as the finality of an issue.
He recounted ridiculous spiritual directions by some Pastors to their congregants and followers which have no scientific basis and not proven to be efficacious medication for the treatment of Coronavirus or any disease.
He alluded to a recent spiritual directive by a Pastor that people should search their bibles and will find a feather that will miraculously cure Coronavirus and other unsubstantiated claims given by some religious leaders to have medicinal properties.
Professor Joseph Osafo, speaking on Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo', noted that Pastors and churches have a major influence on their members to the extent that the members turn to them for all medical advice instead of consulting health Professionals.
“In one city in Accra in Ghana, over 25% of them called their Pastors and asked them for prayer, and even asked their Pastors what they should do. So, you can imagine if the Pastor who believes in taking medicine, he will tell you to stay home and pray. The role they play is a critical role. Some Pastors even tell their members not to undergo surgery for reason being that they will die if they do and directs them to rely on his prayer meanwhile the person is deteriorating,” he recounted.
He appealed to government to enlist some genuine faith-based institutions to help in educating Ghanaians on the impact of the pandemic and the seriousness in strictly adhering to the health instructions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
He believed the religious leaders are a part of “frontline workers” and their role is crucial to the fight against the pandemic.
“. . In fact, they're a major source of health information now . . . And under pandemics, what you want to avoid is miscommunication, rumors, unvalidated claims. You want to avoid that because it can make people react towards health workers. They will not even disclose if someone is infected. They will keep it. So, some of them are calling on their Pastors . . . people were calling their Pastors. They never called medical Doctors. So, they're major tools for health information and the government should look at very organized churches and resource the Pastors. It is even a WHO policy recommendation that you work with faith-based organizations,” he told host Kwami Sefa Kayi.
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