Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) has challenged religious leaders in the country to be change agents in the fight against HIV and Aids as they have a closer relationship with communities.
Cham acting executive director Titha Dzowela was speaking during a recent HIV and Aids symposium the organisation held to engage faith leaders in addressing stigma, faith healing and behaviour change on HIV.
He said: “We know that you have easy contact with communities. That is why we need to update each other on new developments in the sector. We believe that you have a part to play to achieve epidemic control and 90-90-90 target.”
On his part, founder of Altar of Liberty Church of all Nations, who is also a senior prophet and a medical doctor by profession, Rex Kalolo, said some men of God abuse their followers in the name of healing.
“We have to admit that there is a tendency of passing the anointing to others in the name of cleansing one from sins. There is this belief that for deliverance to be complete, a person should sleep with a man of God. This is leaving many sisters in a compromised way. There is need to consider this in behaviour change messages,” he said.
Willie Chaponda, president of Mustard Seed Church, said there is need for the faith leaders to work together to end such practices.
He said while people should not lose faith in divine healing, they should also be aware of people masquerading as men of God to fulfill their sexual desires.
In her response to the leaders, head of policy support and development at National Aids Commission (NAC) Andrina Mwansambo said they were happy that such issues were being discussed by the faith leaders themselves. She said: “There is need for civic education on this. We have to see how we can reach out to such vulnerable groups to prevent the further spread of HIV.”