During Religious Leaders workshops, participants learn about fistula, its causes, impact of fistula, prevention and treatment mechanisms. A detailed discussion is held with focus on how the religious leaders can counsel women with fistula; most women with fistula believe that they are cursed by God, and many of them need psychological support as well. Healing the woman’s mind (her self-image) plays a great role in her physical healing process; therefore, a basic counseling skills component is included in the training.
HHOJ has many reasons to train religious leaders to support the efforts to eliminate obstetric fistula by 2020. Religious leaders are prominent figures in the community and they can play a significant role to prevent fistula, identify new fistula cases, and create awareness among other leaders and members in the community in which fistula can be prevented and treated.
Women with fistula also need help both physically and spiritually. Because religious leaders have opportunities to visit their followers, they can counsel them easily. They can also encourage and support these women on their role as Safe Motherhood Ambassadors (SMAs) in fistula awareness, prevention, and identification. Some selected verses both from the Bible and the Quran are read in order to show the religious leader that they have an obligation given by God to those in need.