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Healing prayers’ worry Aids association

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Malawi Interfaith Aids Association (Miaa) has condemned some religious leaders for encouraging people to stop taking life prolonging drugs.

The association has made the remarks following reports that five people in Nkhata Bay died after a religious leader asked them to stop taking Anti- Retroviral drugs (ARVs) after he prayed for them.

At a press conference in Lilongwe Wednesday, Miaa Executive Director Robert Ngaiyaye said such religious leaders are motivated by greed.

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“This is a very disturbing development and would like to appeal to religious leaders to stop this practice as it has neither theological nor Holy Scriptures backing it. Many of our people are subjected to senseless deaths caused by greedy religious leaders. Yes, greedy because the religious leaders are motivated by gifts and monetary gains which they obtain after saying those prayers,” Ngaiyaye said.

He appealed to people living with HIV to stop listening to religious leaders who encourage them to stop taking ARVs.

“Through Miaa, religious leaders agreed in 2008, when these issues surfaced, that prayers and ARVs will go together. Our God does not contradict Himself, it’s not possible that on one hand, He can reveal knowledge and wisdom on medicines such as ARVs to scientists, on the other hand inspire religious leaders to ask fellow men and women to stop taking medication He just revealed to his people,” he said.

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Centre for Human Rights (CHRR) Executive Director Timothy Mtambo, Acting Director of Programmes at National Aids Commission (Nac), Andrina Mwansambo, and one religious leader, P rophe t Rex Kalolo were present at the press conference.

Mtambo said telling people to stop taking ARVs is a violation of right to good health.

“We are not fighting against the right to faith, right to belief. We are living in a society that has laws. Let’s make sure that the right of the people is protected. People should not be cheated. The issue of telling people to stop taking ARVs becomes more complicated when children are involved,” Mtambo said.

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