— Pastors discouraging ART treatment ‘ caned’

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The Ndola Central Hospital (NCH)  NCH Head of Clinical Care Dr. Sebastian Chinkoyo says it is unfortunate that some clergymen in the country were  discouraging  HIV/AIDS patients from taking the life saving Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART ) drugs leading to their untimely deaths.


Dr Chinkoyo , who is a consultant Obstetrician-Gynaecologist, says he is concerned that some clergymen in Ndola  were discouraging HIV/AIDS positive patients from taking their ARV’s once they have been prayed for.


He said patients who opt to abandon medication and seek healing through prayers disturb the process of suppressing the illness and risk having a multiplicity of the virus in the body.


ZANIS reports that the NCH Head of Clinical Care said this in an interview in  Ndola District, today.


He  has however cautioned patients against  halting treatment owing to prayers saying  such  tendencies  make the human body resistant to particular medication being administered.


“You know as the Hospital , our job really end at counselling to ensure that our patients understand the importance of such drugs. But I believe people want quick solutions because they are desperate for good health,” Dr Chikoyo said.


He advised people on ART to be patient with the recovery process saying it was important to combine medical treatment with spiritual faith because HIV was a physical virus and not spiritual.


“The process of treatment takes quiet some time because others commence quiet late when the immune system is down .So people need to understand that the HIV virus is physical in their bodies, spiritual faith healing is for conditions of the spirit.


“  So the two should not be combined .So if someone claims they have been healed through prayers they should redo the test for HIV before abandoning treatment,” he said. 


Dr. Chinkoyo said prayers are important in any person’s life but that there is need for HIV/AIDS patients to continue taking medication even as they seek good health through prayers.


He has since advised the clergy to act responsibly by not discouraging congregants who are on ART from quitting medication. 


Concerns in sections of society have risen after some church leadrers have discouraged their church members on ART to stop the treatment as an act of faith.


However, the conditions of the patients only deteriorate further and end up dying.