Church leaders' make vaccination appeal

Leaders of various churches across Samoa are appealing to members of the public to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 as part of a media campaign to improve vaccination rates.

Their appeal is part of a media campaign spearheaded by Adventist Development and Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.) Samoa to promote COVID-19 prevention.

The project is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership.   

Ensuring communities have information to improve their physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being within a COVID-19 context is one of the project’s main goals.

The campaign recognises the important and influential role of church leaders in the community to promote good public health policy. 

Part of the campaign includes a short video promoting healthy practices for building resilience against the negative physical, psychological and social impacts of COVID-19. 

It has been shared on social media and through church-owned and commercial TV networks. The video contains messages of encouragement and hope shared by church leaders to reinforce the Ministry of Health’s ongoing campaign to raise awareness of key public health risks and prevention measures.

In a video message shared on A.D.R.A. Samoa’s social media platform, the President of the Seventh Day Adventist Samoa-Tokelau Mission, Pastor Sione Ausage, urges viewers that “we must heed the advice from our health professionals to safeguard against infectious diseases.”

Pastor Ausage, who is also the A.D.R.A. Samoa Board Chairman, added that some of the things that the people must uphold include the washing of hands, using face masks, and keeping the 2 to 3 meters distance from one person to another. 

The Director-General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri acknowledged the partnership between the Ministry of Health and A.D.R.A. Samoa, as well as the Australian Government who made the programme possible.

“Please take heed of this advice and get vaccinated. Have faith in the holy spirit, so that the COVID-19 pandemic stays far away from Samoa,” said Leausa.

Chairman of the National Council of Churches, Deacon Kasiano Leaupepe, said that, “the people of Samoa must be a people who are alert, who listen, who obey, and who are caretakers… let us work together.” 

However, Reverend  Dr. Alesana Pala’amo, Soul Talk Samoa said that although the country is going through so much change, God’s love for Samoa is constant.

“God’s love has never changed for us, before COVID-19 and during COVID-19 God’s love is constant.”

Rev Brenda Reed-Moenoa of the Apia Urban Ministry of All Saints from the Anglican Church said that if the country is to look at the impact of COVID-19 around the world and neighbouring countries like Fiji, he is thankful for the help from overseas countries and the opportunity to be vaccinated before the pandemic reaches Samoa.  

The Director of the Ministry of Health's Mental Health Unit, Seiulialii Dr George Tuitama said that physical isolation does not necessarily mean spiritual or mental isolation.

“Our advice for this period of lockdowns is to look for brain exercises to do. There are things you can do while staying at home.”  

With support from the Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (D.F.A.T.) through the Australian Humanitarian Partnerships programme, A.D.R.A. Samoa in partnership with Caritas Samoa implemented a project to strengthen the resilience of families in Samoa whose livelihoods, physical and mental health are being impacted by the lock down measures associated with COVID-19.

The Mau Pea Le To’ovae – Staying Resilient During COVID-19 project – aimed to improve food and water security for vulnerable families and communities, provide psychosocial support and training, build the resilience of mothers through a safe motherhood program and provide information to improve livelihoods and health in a COVID-19 context. 

Working with church and government leaders, A.D.R.A. has been sharing biblically based COVID-19 messages to strengthen the public health promotion messages from the Ministry of Health. 

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