Govt should intervene on HIV faith-healing — ZNNP+

HARARE - Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) has called on government to intervene on faith-healing as it is likely to hinder progress made in response to HIV/Aids and may deter the country from achieving the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.

The concerns were raised at a National Stakeholders Dialogue on Faith-Healing and the National HIV Strategic Response held at a local hotel recently.

ZNNP+ executive director Dagobert Mureriwa said lives are being lost because of religious beliefs.

“We have lost lives and we will continue to lose some if government does not intervene on faith-healing, as more and more people continue to visit prophets and in the process stop taking their medication leading to deaths”.

“There is need for a strong message from government through the Health and Child Care ministry in relation to all issues around religion, especially on the church and HIV”. Mureriwa added.

Experts say faith-healing has had an adverse effect in the fight against HIV as it often runs contrary to national preventive, treatment and other care services commitments to end the disease by 2020.

Stories of people stopping and surrendering their anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) to faith healers are common amid a belief that HIV can be cured.

A study on the practice of faith-healing in Zimbabwe done by UNAids, and partners noted that people who were on treatment and then stopped taking their treatment because of advice from faith healers put their lives at risk.

Giving a testimony, Margaret Cement, a 38- year-old mother of four, who is living with HIV said she was once asked to stop taking ARVs as her faith could keep her strong.

“I became aware that I was HIV-positive when I lost my baby girl in 2003 and started taking ARVs. I continued to be an active member in my church. During this period, I felt very strong on my ARVs.

“A prophet in our church told me I had ‘the spirit of a goblin’ in me that others called HIV. I believed that since the same prophet had prophesised the death of my baby and I stopped taking my ARVs.

“Later on, I got very sick and decided to go to the clinic were my CD4 had dropped to 115 and I was ordered to take my ARVs which I am taking until this day. I still have my faith and I am living positively.”

ZNNP+ national chairperson Sebastian Chinhaire said some people living with HIV are failing to live positively and turn to faith healers.

Comments (2)

musanyeperwe nemaporofita kuti murege mapiritsi munofa,dzimwe iye muporofita ari kutoanwa

chitsiga - 24 June 2016

People should be aware that even Jesus did not know about viruses, bacteria, germs and everything microscopic. The son of God knew nothing about the microscopic world made by his own father! If the father did not tell him, then why do they say he was also God himself? Had known, he should have warned people about small animals unseen by the naked eye that his father created and placed among his people but did not open their eyes to these small and invisible deadly pests. Why didn't Jesus know? Because he was a crook and that is why they killed him painfully. Have you taken time to think how it feels to be nailed to a wooden pole. It is very very painful, even in imagination. Hanging from nails through your flesh! All believers are susceptible to any faith healing trick you can invent for them. They queue up to be tricked so simply with the healer using the word "Jesus" and they will never wake up.

Yeoman Thomas - 25 June 2016

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