By Pelagia Bhebhe
Some religious sects in Zimbabwe have beliefs that infringe the rights of congregates. With some churches believing that congregants should not seek medical attention as they can be healed via prayer and faith.
This has increased the country’s mortality rate due to high infant mortality rate as children are not allowed to access immunization for the six killer diseases and also the adults are not allowed access conventional medicines.
At one point the apostolic faith members who were diagnosed with HIV were said to seek medical attention at night because they are afraid of being seen by fellow members.
This shows how religion is acts as a barrier to reducing HIV/AIDS related deaths as people fail to access medication due to religion.
Tatenda Kanengoni said “members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect officially refuse medical treatment of any kind, even in the most severe cases of injury or illness. They believe that only God can heal, and that their faith in him makes that possible.”
Some churches fail to note that conventional medicines like antiretroviral drugs are a miracle from God which is there to boost the immune system of those who are infected with the virus.