Apostolic faith beliefs stifle health programmes

Members of the Apostolic church sects have been accused of stifling government prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) campaigns in Chinamhora, Domboshava, because of their strongly-held disbelief in medical treatment.

The revelations came out during the launch of a maternal health campaign organised by the Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre and Network at Munyawiri Primary School in Domboshava last week.

Deputy Minister of Health Douglas Mombeshora, who was the guest of honour at the launch of the campaign, said government was in the process of engaging the Apostolic sect members so that they could accept medical treatment.

Its an issue that we are looking into. We are engaging with their leaders and from the efforts that we have made so far, I think there has been some positive response.

So its not something that will change overnight, but with time. I think we will achieve the desired results, he said.

The campaign aims at raising awareness on maternal health issues as well as advocating for policies that reduce maternal deaths in the country.

Speaking on the sidelines, primary care nurses at Masikandoro Clinic accused the sect members of shunning the programme because of their religious beliefs.

We are encouraging pregnant women in the area to come for early bookings as part of our PMTCT campaigns, but we are having problems with members of the Apostolic sects like Johane Marange, some of whom do not even come for bookings, said a primary care nurse at Masikandoro Clinic,
This has negatively affected the PMTCT campaign because the response has not been overwhelming, she said.

Another nurse said they had tried to engage traditional leaders in the area in an effort to ensure the apostolic sect members were included in the PMTCT campaigns but the efforts were yielding little results.

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