A survey was conducted to assess their knowledge, attitude and practice on social issues
Survey: The understanding of social issues among religious personnel need to be improved going by the findings of a survey conducted among 3,242 religious personnel.
The National Statistical Bureau’s (NSB) survey, knowledge attitude and practice (KAP) 2015, was conducted to assess the KAP of religious personnel, as they play a critical role in influencing people’s opinions out of high reverence. Their knowledge, attitude and practices on various social issues are important in influencing change.
The survey found out that 66 percent of the religious personnel have never heard about global warming. However, among those who heard, a majority reported ‘smoke from vehicle’ as the most common cause of global warming. Cooking with wood is the least cause of global warming among them, the survey found.
A large proportion (88.9 percent) of the religious personnel also reported that smoke from firewood would affect individual health and indescirmate dumping of waste would have adverse impact on health.
The report stated that conservation of environment being one of the pillars of the Gross National Happiness, religious personnel’s knowledge, attitude and practices related to environmental issues like climate change, waste management, water and sanitation merits a study.
The most common Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) experienced were high blood pressure among the religious personnel. But 73 percent of them reported that they know nothing about diabetes or just heard of it.
More than half of them are also not aware of heart disease, stroke and blood pressure.
Almost eight out of every 10 religious personnel surveyed responded that the sale of tobacco in Bhutan is legal, while everyone agreed that alcohol consumption and tobacco use affects health.
Majority of the respondent said that the use of alcohol in religious ceremonies (not for offerings but for consumption) can be substituted by other drinks. There are 9.3 percent who feels it cannot be substituted.
With regard to drinking habits, about nine in every 10 agreed that Bhutanese generally tend to drink large amount of alcohol at celebrations and religious ceremonies. One in every 10 reported that they drink during religious ceremonies.
On HIV/AIDS, only one third of the respondents knew that there is a test to detect the virus. A large number of the religious personnel are still having the misconception that people can get HIV from mosquito bites, hugging and kissing. Few also believed that witchcraft could transmit HIV.
When asked about contraceptive methods, only 38 percent are able to identify more than three types of contraceptive methods. The most common known contraceptive method was use of condom. The overall contraceptive prevalence rate among the religious personnel is 12.4 percent.
Religious institutions included in the survey were monk body in the dzongs or monasteries, lhakhangs (temples), shedra (Buddhist colleges), gomdeys (lay monk body), and drubdeys (Meditation centres). Lay monks do not take the oath of celibacy.
The median age of religious personnel is estimated at 21 years implying that half of the religious personnel are below the age of 21. Elderly, above 65 years of age, accounts for just little more than three percent.
Around six in every 10 (63.4%) reported that they experience stress from day to day. Almost half of them reported monastic works as the main cause of stress in their life. Family, health and relationship were other causes of stress among the religious personnel.
The most common methods of relieving stress, according to religious personnel were proactive methods like talking with friends, meditation and exercise. Only about five percent thought consulting health workers would reduce stress. There was very small proportion reporting passive methods like smoking and drinking to reduce stress.
Religious personnel seem to have high knowledge on domestic violence. But majority of the respondents also agreed that -“a teacher needs to physically punish a child to teach correct behavior.”
Nearly 75 percent of religious personnel agreed that man and women are equal. However, majority of them (75.8 percent) also agreed with the belief that women are nine births lower than men. About 83 percent reported that females entering temples and making offerings, during menstrual period was improper.
Most of the religious personnel were aware that giving birth at young age is risky.