Balaka North member of Parliament (MP) Lucius Banda (United Democratic Front-UDF) has said the HIV and Aids (Prevention and Management) legislation should have provisions to deal with overzealous church leaders claiming to cure HIV with prayer, saying they are causing more harm than good.
In his contribution, Banda said the Bill should have also looked into ways of handling individuals who default medication.
“Malawi being a very religious country has issues of preachers and prophets who claim to heal using faith,” pointed out Banda.
“How do we handle people who default medication after being convinced by the church that they are ok?”
He said the law should muzzle anyone claiming they can cure AIDS.
Malawi Interfaith Aids Association (MIAA) is on record to have suggested that faith leaders who tell people with HIV to stop taking their life-saving drugs should face prosecution.
There reports that many people with HIV have died after they stopped taking antiretroviral drugs on the advice of their Christian pastors.. Dodgy traditional healers touting their “cures” for AIDS are also proliferating.
Televangelism has also become increasingly popular in the conservative country and pastors spend much of their time preaching messages of hope, with the emphasis on healing miracles and how millions have been saved from abject poverty.
A congregant of the Living Waters Church, commented, “In our church we believe in divine intervention when we are faced with any problem, be it AIDS or poverty. Yes, antiretroviral drugs are important for AIDS patients, but people need Jesus most.
“We have seen people here getting healed and test HIV negative afterwards because of the power of prayer; people who do not get deliverance after being prayed for, lack faith.”
Meanwhile, HIV and Aids and Nutrition Committee chairperson Deus Gumba Banda said the passing of the HIV Bill was a dream come true for him and the committee.
He said: “This will be one of the finest HIV legislations that also pays attention to human rights of individuals.”
The HIV and Aids (Prevention and Management) Bill was developed by the Malawi Law Commission in 2008 to provide an institutional framework for effective regulation of the prevention and management of the HIV and Aids epidemic in Malawi.
The Bill will also formally establish National Aids Commission, outlining composition of the commission and procedures for appointing commissioners and the chief executive officer.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :