May 23, 2024

Don seeks synergy between spiritualists, medical doctors

Don seeks synergy between spiritualists, medical doctors

Ini Billie, Uyo

The first female Professor of Sociology of Religion in Nigeria, Prof. Anthony Maurice Essien has called for synergy between spiritualists and medical doctors.

Essien, who said mainstreaming spirituality in healthcare service is necessary owing to the nation’s diverse religious and cultural sensibilities, noted that it would reduce the practice of deception and reliance on fake spiritualists by the sick.

Speaking on Thursday in Uyo as the 90th inaugural lecturer during the University of Uyo’s inaugural lecture on the topic, “Mainstreaming Spirituality in Healthcare Services: Exploring the Gamut of Inclusivity”, Essien called for the establishment of Pastoral-care units with trained chaplains and gifted spiritualists of healthy spirituality in the hospitals.

She explained that her position is based on research findings of three decades which revealed that most patients in the nation’s cultural context want physicians to address their spiritual concerns besides the doctors.

“I have discovered that patients in our cultural context want physicians to address their spiritual concerns. Therefore, I have been advocating that establishing pastoral-care units with trained chaplains and gifted spiritualists would be very important in the healthcare system given our religious sensibility.

“Anyone adjudged and authenticated as being endowed with the gift of healing should be brought into healthcare services to collaborate with medical experts for the good of the patients.

“Ignoring people’s real or imaginary spiritual concerns in our spiritualized worldview would do the patients no good. Attention to spiritual concerns ultimately improves the health of patients.

“The creation of a pastoral care unit in a medical facility is the best way to go so that patients are directed to the spiritual care unit to be assured that with the medical and spiritual aid, the disease would be treated.

“If patients visiting the hospital know that they can access both medical and spiritual options at one point, the destruction of life in inauthentic spiritual homes will gradually fade away and lose their customers in their fee-for service spirituality which is often detrimental to patients,” she stated.

Essien emphasised that the synergy would allow spiritualists and medical doctors to operate in their own domain of expertise and help patients grabble with the challenges of spirituality.

She urged that religious faith with corresponding spirituality should be taken seriously, saying there is hardly any academic discipline that does not have elements of spirituality in it. She argued that spirituality is part of existence and presents approaches and models for every professional working in diverse areas.

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