THE Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) yesterday criticised Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo for “recklessly” insinuating that prolonged intake of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) could cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
By MUNESU NYAKUDYA
In a statement, the association expressed fear that Moyo’s “reckless” utterances on Twitter could promote stigmatisation and lead some patients on HIV treatment to discontinue their treatment for fear of the alleged side effects.
Moyo, who is embroiled in a nasty factional fight with Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, at the weekend insinuated that the Vice-President’s vomiting at the Zanu PF youth interface rally in Gwanda two months ago could have been induced by excessive intake of antibiotics or ARVs.
Moyo, in his Twitter remarks, said: “The lot with my TL with crap about poison and food poison must note that chronic use of antibiotics or ARVs also induces vomiting and diarrhoea.”
ZADHR said the sharp-tongued minister’s remarks could be wrongly interpreted as true.
“The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights condemns in the strongest of terms the recent statements allegedly made by Prof Moyo on his Twitter account,” ZADHR said.
“The message, which in our interpretation was part of his response to the Zanu PF circus over succession battles, if wrongly interpreted by the public may lead to defaulting of ART (antiretroviral therapy), ill-informed fear to be initiated on ART and as a disincentive for HIV counselling and testing.”
The group added: “ZADHR maintains that as the country strives to achieve its HIV 90/90/90 targets, such irresponsible, unrestrained and misinformed assertions on ART that lead to a pervasive fear of ART usage must be publicly rebuked.
“The minister, whose portfolio spans over the higher and tertiary institutions including the prestigious College of Health Sciences in Zimbabwe, is strongly advised to seek information and knowledge from the rich body of knowledge and research on HIV and Aids before making insensitive remarks on social media.
“ZADHR also wishes to redirect Prof Moyo, Cabinet ministers and President Robert Mugabe towards addressing the debilitating drug shortages in our hospitals and the spiralling economic decline.”