NATIONAL Aids Council (NAC) board member Catharine Murombedzi has urged families who lost their loved ones to HIV and Aids after being misled by their spiritual leaders to stop taking medication to sue for loss of human life.
Addressing journalists attending a NAC-organised media workshop in Kadoma last week, Murombedzi said it was time a precedence is set to deter religious leaders from misleading their flock by declaring spiritual healing for HIV and Aids when it the condition has no known cure globally.
“It’s up to the families of those whose loved ones have been misled by these pastors and faith healers after some prophetic declarations that one has been healed of Aids. I know legal costs at times are just too high, but lawyers for human rights can actually help you in such matters,” Murombedzi said.
Some spirituals healers have made wild claims during crusades that they have powers to cure HIV and Aids and at times telling their members living with HIV and Aids to stop taking medication after receiving miracle healing.
Speaking at the same event, NAC chief executive Tapuwa Magurei said the organisation had now started engaging churches to curb the mischief.
“We have started talking to pastors in the churches to make them see logic and so that they stop asking their members to throw away their medication after receiving the so-called spiritual healing. They should get that healing, but should continue taking their medication,” Magurei said.
“Aids is still incurable and all medicines that are there are there to suppress the viral load and do not cure the condition.”
Health minister David Parirenyatwa has often castigated spiritual healers for misleading their followers by claiming to cure Aids and other chronic ailments.
Meanwhile, people living with HIV and Aids in and around Kadoma have expressed concern over the decision by officials at Kadoma General Hospital to make them pay user fees starting September 1.
The hospital now expects those coming to get refills of their anti-retroviral drugs to pay what is called an administration fee of $2, while those who want to have a CD4 count pay $4.
Most of the people interviewed during a NAC tour of the hospital said they could not raise the user fees and, therefore, this could affect access to their medication.
“I was told I could not get a refill unless I pay $2, they even refused my Social Welfare treatment order which entitles me to free treatment at government hospitals. I had to go outside and beg for the money on the streets so that I can get a refill,” said Frank Mwale, who was at the hospital for a refill.
However, hospital staff said the fees were not compulsory.