Police in Malawi’s eastern district of Balaka are keeping in custody a husband and a wife for allegedly neglecting to provide medical attention to their child on religious grounds.
The suspects Isaac Chindimba 48, who is biological father and Martha Banda 42, a step mother both members of Apostolic Faith failed to take their sick child to the hospital for treatment since their faith does not allow them to take medicine.
According to the Child Protection Officer for Balaka Police Sergeant Elias Sungani, the victim is a form 2 student and she fell sick while at School a development that forced the School management to send her back home.
“Upon arrival at home, the parents who are devoted apostolic faithfuls did not take the child to the hospital for treatment because their faith teaches them not to take medicine and instead they were just praying for her and giving her anointing water,” says Sungani.
The was reported to the police by the neighbours and relatives who felt sorry with the condition of the girl, who took the child to Balaka District hospital amid resistance from the parents.
“The girl has since been admitted and medical examination has proved that the girl has cerebral malaria and was at a critical stage,” says Sungani.
Meanwhile, Police have pressed charges to the couple and they are expected to appear before court soon where they will answer a case of neglecting to provide medical attention to their child which is contrary to section 165 of the penal code.
It is also an offence according to Child care, Protection and Justice Act 2010.
The suspects come from Ndoya village, in the area of Senior Chief Nsamala in Balaka district.
Police are informing members of the general public that it is an offence punishable by law for a parent or guardian to neglect to provide adequate diet, clothing, shelter, medical attention and other necessities to their children.