Lilongwe — The Malawi interfaith AIDS Association (MIAA) Wednesday condemned the act of some religious leaders who have been reported to have stopped people living with HIV from taking Ant Retro Vile drugs (ARV's)
Recently there have been a number of reported cases involving people that have died following incidences of prayers that were believed to have been administered on people living with HIV who are on ARV's
Speaking at a press conference in Lilongwe, Executive Director of Malawi interfaith AIDS Association, Robert Ngaiyaye said it was sad to see that other pastors are stopping people living with HIV from taking medication.
Said Ngaiyaye "this is a very disturbing development and we would like to appeal to religious leaders to stop doing this practice as it has neither theological nor the Holy Scriptures backing."
"Our people are subjected to senseless deaths caused by greedy religious leaders, greedy because these pastors are motivated by gifts and monetary gains which they obtain after saying those prayers," he explained.
He further said it is high time that something is done to bring these faith leaders to book on what they are doing by sending many Malawians to their early graves.
"It appears that these leaders have no conscious on the outcomes of their behaviors, on behalf of the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association we condemn these pastors and warn them to stop this malpractice immediately," said Ngaiyaye.
He also asked the Malawi law society and human rights commission to provide MIAA with guidance on how the law can take its course in order not to allow certain section of people to deprive others of their rights to life and good health because of their conditions at the pretense of praying for them.
In 2008 MIAA with all religious leaders agreed to let people living with HIV take their ARV's together with prayers.
"Our God does not contradict himself, it's not possible that on one hand he can reveal knowledge and wisdom on medicines such as ARV's to scientists on the other hand inspire religious leaders to ask fellow men and women to stop taking medications he has just revealed to his people" continued Ngaiyaye.
In her remarks Acting Director of programs at Nation Aids Commission (NAC), Dr Andrina Mwansambo said government through NAC is working hand in hand with MIAA to make sure that people living with HIV have access to ARVs.
"As government we will continue by making sure that people with HIV have the ARV's and that they should not stop taking them in the name of prayers" said Dr Mwansambo.
Also Commenting on the matter the Executive Director of NAPHAM Master Mphande narrated that it was very disappointing that people who are on treatment are been stopped from taking the ARVs in the name of prayer.
"Am asking all people living with HIV to be proactive and stop listening to religious leaders who ask them to stop taking the ARV's as it is their rights to life," said Mphande
On his part Pastor Felix kalolo condemn the faith leaders who are encouraging the people living with HIV to stop taking ARV's in the name of prayer.
Pastor Felix Kalolo concurred with Mphande and said "Our God loves all of us that's why he gives us life and that is our right nobody should take that from us apart from God himself"
Kalolo further urged people living with HIV to go for testing after been prayed to cross check if indeed they have been healed as only the medical personnel can tell them if they have been healed or not.
Recently in Nkhatabay five people died after a religious leader had asked them to stop taking ARV's after praying for them and other districts include Rumphi, Kasungu, Mzimba, Lilongwe, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Blantyre, Ntcheu, Salima, Zomba among other districts.