People living with HIV and Aids (PLWHAs) have been warned that they are risking their lives by abandoning anti-retroviral therapy (ART) on advice from faith leaders.
National Association for People Living with HIV and Aids in Malawi (Napham) has issued the warning after five people who had been taking the life-prolonging treatment have died after being advised by a pastor to abandon the ART in Nkhata Bay.
Napham summoned members of the pastors’ fraternity to express their concern over the pastor’s tendency.
Napham district coordinator for Mzimba and Nkhata Bay, Grace Mbendera warned that stopping ARVs may compromise the immune system and lead to adverse effects on patients.
Mbendera said the church should be at the forefront in the fight against HIV and Aids, bemoaning acts by men of God in telling patients to stop ART, saying that is hindering the efforts.
She further- urged those on life prolonging drugs not to abandon treatment as reports indicate that 2 022 clients on ART have abandoned the life-prolonging drug.
Research has shown that patients who abandon treatment develop drug-resistant diseases.
Village head Ngalauka Wapachanya, from Traditional Authority (T/A) Malanda in Nkhatabay said he lost his nephew following the pastor’s directive, on the grounds that he was completely healed following a deliverance session administered to him.
Chairperson of the Pastor’s Fraternity, Pastor Albert Masowo, said he will summon the alleged pastor “as his deeds are destroying the reputation of men of God in the district.”
And Drug Resource Enhancement against Aids and Malnutrition (DREAM) programme manager Francisco Zuze said it is not sinful to take ARVs, arguing that God recommended the use of medicines to cure illnesses.
Zuze said Men of God have no authority to advise patients to stop taking ARVs.
He said defaulting on medication after receiving “spiritual healing “could cause health complications.
Zuze said it was important for church organisations, community based organisations and nongovernmental organisations to take keen interest in educating people about HIV/AIDS and ARVs.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :