Malawi lawmakers want herbalists in HIV/Aids fight

Malawi opposition legislatures have asked government to involve traditional healers in the country in the fight against HIV and Aids because of the respect the herbalists command from most communities.

Making their contributions to the debate on the Progress of Delivery of HIV and Aids and Nutrition Services in the country presented by the Parliamentary Committee on HIV and Aids and Nutrition, the MPs said the traditional healers would help in the fight against HIV/Aids.

Lilongwe Msozi South Member of Parliament (MP) Vitus Dzoole Mwale who suggested that even the Committee on HIV and Aids and Nutrition should have a good interaction with the traditional healers as they also play an important part in health development.

“Traditional doctors also are also trying their best to find the cure of this deadly disease.  We do hear a number of traditional doctors claiming that they have found the medicine,” said Dzoole Mwale.

Dzoole Mwale: Involve herbalists
Dzoole Mwale: Involve herbalists

Dzoole Mwale questioned how far the committee interacts with the traditional doctors.

“I am not sure if the committee had a chance of finding out on how much our traditional doctors are doing in this area.  I think it is also important to consider research activities that are being done by our traditional doctors,” he said.

Leader of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Parliament George Chaponda supported Dzoole Mwale.

He said this in his contribution: “I think traditional healers are people whom the community in a way respect. They play a very important role or they could play an important role as counsellors for especially in the prevention of HIV and AIDS and perhaps it could have been better that they should have engaged in a discussion with them and seen to what extent they do promote or discouraged this particular pandemic. “

Chaponda said taking on board traditional healers will also assist in deterring them from being perpetrators in the spread of HIV and Aids, saying “I know in some cases, they could also be perpetrators.”

Contributing to the debate, DPP  MP for Ntchisi East,  Songazaudzu Sajeni  observed that there is a collision course between  the fight against HIV and AIDS versus human rights.

“Of late, I have heard a number of jingles and radio adverts to do with atsikana oyendayenda (sex workers) on radios.  When you look at the way the adverts are put, sometimes you wonder whether it is to prevent people from catching the HIV and AIDS or it is actually encouraging atsikana kuyendayenda (prostitution).

“We need to look at these two things, human rights and the fight against HIV and AIDS, so that they really seem to be complementing and supplementing each other.”

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