Zambia: Two Much Faith... Mum in Trouble for Taking Twin Children Off Arvs

A Choma woman could be in serious trouble after it was alleged she took her 14-year-twins off their ARVs based on her faith that they were healed.

The case was revealed during a child protection meeting held in Choma yesterday, where the Network for Zambian People Living with HIV/AIDS (NZPLUS) Choma coordinator Florence Habeenzu received a report about the situation.

The woman was not named, but a police report is said to have been made giving her details.

She is also said to have signed documents absolving the hospital of any part in the decision.

"When this matter came to my office, I took it up to the Zambia Police Victim Support Unit, I was told that under the Penal Code they couldn't take any action against the mother. That's how I stopped pursuing it.

"But if the matter is followed up the records are there... the twins were 14 years and the mother even signed at the hospital to discontinue the medication," Ms Habeenzu said.

It's been a year since the case he happened and to there is no report on the health condition of the twins.

The meeting was held under the auspices of the ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Protection and chaired by director John Zulu.

Mr Zulu said legal action should be taken against the woman and the matter be again reported to the police.

"Children are supposed to be protected against such decisions by the mother. This is an act of negligence and action needs to be taken against this woman. We shall pursue the matter," Mr Zulu said.

He urged other parents and guardians to avoid foisting personal religious convictions of their children on such grave matters.

He said his office was also working to address issues of stigma among the pupils.

Choma recently heard reports of pupils discontinuing ART, citing stigma from fellow students.

Mr Zulu advised the pupils to continue with their life-prolonging drugs.

"Young people should continue with their medication while issues of stigma are being addressed," he said.

Mr Zulu said his department visited Choma to check on how the district office was performing after the end of projects under the Save the Children organisation.

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