By Elizabeth Ndhlovu-Dumbreni


Many a time, religious and faith healers have been known to dissuade their followers from seeking medical attention, claiming spiritual healing through prayer, even in the face of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and HIV among others. But for one Zimbabwean religious leader, the case is different. Popular Chitungwiza-based Apostle, Cornelius Chikuhwa, of Living Word Citadel church, broke new ground recently, when he taught about the upside of seeking medical attention.


Delivering a sermon at his church recently, the man of the cloth urged his congregants to always be watchful, not only of spiritual matters, but of their health and well-being as well, adding that there is nothing wrong with seeking prayers from men of God for healing, but it is foolish to refuse proven medical cures and relief medication on the insistence that only prayer must release you from your illness.


“While the available therapy will not cure the virus that causes AIDS, the therapy is known to cure symptoms, relieve pain, and significantly boost one’s immune system. As a result, people living with HIV often live long, healthy lives. So the disappearance of the symptoms doesn't mean the virus too is gone, and doctors always stress the point. It is ill advised and foolish to then get off that treatment simply because you are now born again. Pray, but stay on treatment. God will deliver you from the illness while you are on taking your medication. Getting off treatment will kill you and you will die a premature death, despite being born again,” he said.


On a similar note, the World Council of Churches convened a meeting in Kampala, Uganda in September last year, which SAfAIDS attended.  Speaking during the regional consultative convention on HIV Treatment Adherence and Faith Healing in Africa, UNAIDS country representative to Uganda, Ms Karusa Kiragu said the Church should sensitise people not to contract the disease (HIV) and encourage those living with the disease, to access treatment. (