MEMBERS of some apostolic sects in Gwanda District that bar members from going to hospital are reportedly sneaking into health institutions at night to seek health services. This came to light during an HIV/Aids workshop held at Manama Bible School last week when participants raised concern over some apostolic churches (amapostoli) that denied their members access to health services.
A nurse at Manama Hospital revealed that they had been treating some of the church members at night as they feared going to hospital during the day.
“Of late, we have been treating some of these church members at night.
They bring their children for treatment at night when people have gone to sleep because they fear being seen visiting the hospital by other church members.
“We have even attended to some of the church leaders at night because they now have a better understanding of the importance of accessing health services.
“They say they cannot talk about hospital to other church members since it is against church doctrine,” said the nurse.
The nurse said some of the members preferred visiting the hospital very early in the morning.
A participant from Ward 16, Mr Admus Matjaka, said there was a need to intensify engagement of such churches so that the district could have no more new HIV infections.
“Such issues are a drawback towards achieving the 2015 zero new infections target,” he said.
In 2009, nine children from one of the apostolic sects (Madhidha) in the district died of measles, a problem that could have been prevented if church members had taken their children for vaccination.
Local leaders said they had tried engaging the churches to no avail.
It was proposed that it was high time Government intervened so as to save lives.
“When we approach those churches about the hospital issue, they tell us that even the Government knows that they don’t go to hospital.
“We now need to approach Government about this issue and see if they can gazette a policy that deals with this problem,” said Ward 19 councillor, Tompson Makhalima.