Health workers in Nkhatabay have expressed concern over the number of people who have stopped collecting Anti-Retroviral (ARV) drugs from health facilities in the district.
Acting Nutrition HIV and Aids Officer for Nkhatabay District, Joshua Nyirenda, said this recently at Chihame 2 Ground in Group Village Headman Mchingalombo, under Traditional Authority Kabunduli during World Aids Day commemorations under the theme “Communities make a difference: End HIV and Aids by 2030.”
Nyirenda told the Malawi News Agency (MANA) that half of the total number of people living with HIV stopped collecting medication in the district’s health facilities.
“Out of the 10,070 people living with HIV in Nkhatabay 45.4 percent stopped collecting ARVs from our district health centres,” said Nyirenda.
“Most of the times people stop taking medication based on religion. But we are saying that despite being prayed for by religious leaders let us also stick to medication, God would love to be worshiped by a healthy nation,” added Nyirenda.
He then called on traditional, religious leaders, and guardians to assist the district health office in ending the malpractice.
Guest of honour at the function who is also Nkhatabay District Council Vice Chairperson, Cyria Nyamwera asked people living with HIV to continue taking drugs to prolong their lives.
“If we register many defaulters it won’t be good for the district and the country as a whole. We have to do something to make sure that there is nobody who defaults taking ARVs,” said Nyamwera.
Speaking in an interview, Anglican Church Pastor based in the area, Reverend Kennedy Chilowa said people must go to the hospital for verification if they believe to have been healed and not just stop taking medication for this would put their lives at risk.
“Even Jesus Christ healed people but he would always ask them to go to the priest for verification, let us not misunderstand the teaching, when healed let us go back to the hospital for verification to save our lives,” explained Pastor Chilowa.