21 May 2011

Tanzania: Five Die After Abandoning Use of ARVs

Five residents of Sunya village in Kiteto district, Manyara region who had tested HIV positive are reported to have died after abandoning anti retroviral drugs (ARVs) following a single-dose herbal concoction of a 'miracle healer' in Loliondo.

Their deaths occurred shortly after arriving back from Samunge village where the retired pastor Ambilikile Masapila has been dispensing a liquid drink from a local herb he claims cures a range of chronic diseases including Aids.

A councillor for Sunya ward Mr. Mussa Brighton confirmed the deaths of the villagers, saying they had recently returned home from Loliondo where they went to seek treatment from Rev. Masapila.

Mr. Brighton, who is the vice chairman of the Kiteto District Council, said the five had reportedly abandoned using the life-prolonging ARVs as recommended by medical doctors as one of the arsenals against killer Aids.

Unconfirmed reports said the deceased have been telling people after returning from Loliondo that they had stopped using ARV because they were feeling better after taking a cupful the herbal drink from "Babu".

The councillor warned that the trend was not good because, insisting that people who have tested positive should not abandon ARVs dose from the medical facilities. He could not disclose the names of the deceased.

He argued that Loliondo herbal medicine offered by the spiritual healer should not make people discard the recommended medicines for the so-called chronic ailments.

Recently several officials of non-governmental organisations involved in HIV/Aids fight in Manyara region have warned against people abandoning ARVs in favour of the herbal treatment from " Babu' and other traditional healers.

In recent weeks there had been reports in Arusha and Manyara regions of people who allegedly had abandoned ARVs in favour of Masapila's cure having lost their lives. Their names could not be obtained.

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