STATE TIMES NEWS POONCH: In order to effectively reach target populations, public health promotion efforts have significantly put the role of religious leaders and advocacy at the backburner. However, various qualitative and quantitative studies over the past few years has gone to suggest that the involvement of religious leader in health-related interventions has generally been found to improve the participation of their congregations in these interventions and thus promote positive health outcomes. This was stated by Dr. Sushil Sharma, Head of Department, Cardiology, SSH Jammu, on the sidelines of a health check up cum awareness camp in the precincts of newly constructed Navgreh Temple situated near LOC village Ajote in district Poonch. More than 500 people were screened, evaluated and diagnosed for various health ailments. Free medicines were also distributed as per the requirements. “Religious leaders are highly esteemed, and their authority can convince members of their congregations to accept or reject various health interventions. Consequently, religious leaders are the major partner in such interventions albeit they are seldom consulted about community health priorities and health promotion preferences. These insights are critical to ensure productive partnerships, effective health management and sustainable health policies across the nation,” he emphasised. Dr Sushil Sharma particularly highlighted the role of Holy Seat of Sri Satguru Kanshi Giri Ji in alleviating the sufferings of millions of displaced population settled in different parts of country since 1947. He maintained that their role in inculcating positive health practices and behaviour among disciples is tremendous and have been instrumental in stalling onset of various morbidities among the common populace. It is important to mention that the health camp was organised by Navgreh Temple Committee with the blessings of Guru Gosain Brij Bhushan Ji and support of Yashpal Sharma, Former Legislator, Advocate Sunil Sharma, Chairman, Municipal Council; Coucillors Naresh Chander, Sanjay Khajuria, Parvinder Singh, Mohinder Singh and Balwinder Singh, Amar Singh Josh and prominent members of civil society of the concerned area. Others who were part of this health advocacy cum check up programme included Dr Pallavi Sharma, Dr Sarfaraz, Dr Sahil Sharma and Dr Udesh pal. Paramedics and volunteers who were part of the team included Vikas Kumar, Akshay Kumar, Jarnail Singh, Abhijeet Sharma, Deepak, Kuljeet Singh, Raghav Rajput, Anmol Singh, Paramjeet Singh, Kranesh Kumar and Rajkumar.
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