Malawi Network of Religious Leaders living with or Personally Affected by HIV and Aids (Manerela+) has urged churches in the country to stop discouraging people from taking medical drugs.
Programme manager for Manerela+, Bruce Tushabe, told Mana that some churches have, for some time, been encouraging people to believe in faith healing instead of taking their drugs as prescribed by doctors.
“We are facing the challenge of religious practices where some church leaders encourage people living with HIV/Aids to stop taking antiretroviral drugs that help boost the immune system. Instead, they are told to believe in faith healing which does not work with the immune system at all,” said Tushabe.
He added that if one stops taking ARVs or any drug that helps boost the immune system, chances are high that their viral-load goes up.
Commenting on the same, evangelist Andrew Banda of Oasis of the Lord Church in Mzuzu said it is bad for church leaders to encourage their church members, who are on treatment, to stop taking medical drugs.
“Whether someone gets healed by faith or not, church leaders are not supposed to tell anyone to stop medication,” Banda explained.
He said it was better to teach people the word of God and how the power of God can change a person’s health status.