Religious, cultural beliefs affecting ART programmes in Balaka

A visit by Nyasa Times to the Eastern Region District of Balaka have revealed that some people who are on life prolonging anti-retroviral treatment are abandoning the process due to some religious beliefs and false prophets who claim to have the healing powers to the deadly HIV/Aids.

The reports have been confirmed by the office of the Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS. (MANERELA+) in the district.

District Officer for MANERELA+ in Balaka Harold Kachepatsonga said other patients abandon their respective treatment once they starts feeling better thinking they are healed.

Kachepatsonga: Beliefs are affecting the ART programme

Kachepatsonga: Beliefs are affecting the ART programme

“There are 11,325 people on ART in Balaka and out of this number 2,637 are defaulting treatment” said Kachepatsonga who described the situation as worrisome.

Kachepatsonga said this is as a result of faith healing Prophets who claim to have healing power.

He also added that some people stops taking medication once they start feeling better and they end up believing they don’t have the virus.

Meanwhile, MANERELA+ Balaka chapter has vowed never to peddle back but to train more support groups as well as to start tracing those who have defaulted treatment.

“Our next move is to train support group members as expert clients to trace defaulters. The other way is to use health surveillance Assistants on the same. We are also planning to hold workshops and sensitization meetings with religious leaders as well as local leaders” Kachepatsonga told Nyasa Times.

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