Let's act together, because vaccines help in the fight against the pandemic, this is UNICEF's messag
How can we find solutions together and reduce the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of citizens in our communities?
How can we find solutions together and reduce the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of citizens in our communities? Representatives of religious communities from 15 cities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina tried to offer an answer to this question during the final conference in Banja Luka from 14 to 16 March 2023.
Namely, the Interreligious Council of BiH in partnership with World Vision in BiH, with the support of UNICEF BiH and USAID BiH, organized a conference on the topic: "Let's act together" as part of the project "Ensuring a response to COVID-19 in churches and religious communities in BiH".
The goal of the project is to mobilize religious officials, religious communities and youth networks within religious communities to support the response to COVID-19 and achieve positive changes for children and families in the communities.
Dr. Jelena Đaković Dević spoke about the experiences of the Public Health Institute of the Republika Srpska during the pandemic and emphasized the importance of applying all preventive measures with the necessary multisectoral cooperation.
"In order to organize the COVID-19 vaccination, we had to provide vaccines in a situation when the whole world was trying to get them; to design the organization of the vaccination campaign; to prepare the health system, which was struggling with a huge number of patients; to provide equipment for the storage and transport of vaccines; and to educate healthcare workers and provide unique certificates with a QR code", said Dr. Jela Aćimović M.Sc. from the Public Health Institute of the Republika Srpska.
Željko Maksimović spoke about the recommendations of the Youth Network as part of the project: "We believe that we need more individual conversations, the establishment of psychological counselling centres, the provision of security through rituals. It is necessary to use moral standards to guide the practical application of scientific achievements, as well as continuous education and inclusion, because we want to expand inter-religious meetings of young people throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina".
Friar Franjo Ninić, Mahir ef. Kevrić, Abdulaziz ef. Nuspahić and many others shared their thoughts and experiences about the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of religious officials with the participants, emphasizing the importance of prayer, mutual solidarity, trust in healthcare workers and verified information.
Dr. Dijana Đurić spoke about the impact of the pandemic on the psychosocial functioning of the population and the modalities of support, stressing that long-term life threat, strong emotional suffering, isolation from the social environment, alienation and existential factors had the greatest impact on the development of psychological symptoms during the pandemic.
This was an opportunity for the participants to share their personal experiences about the impact of the pandemic on everyday life, in a joint effort to contribute to the development of awareness of the importance of prevention, as well as vaccination, for the health and protection of people from infectious diseases.
The common conclusion of the conference participants is - We will continue to help each other and stand in solidarity, with mutual understanding and respect. We are turned toward each other while overcoming obstacles together, and learning from past experiences.
UNICEF BiH appreciates that the Interreligious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina has recognized the importance of transmitting verified information about the pandemic, and the importance of advocating preventive measures, especially vaccination, because vaccines work.