Prayers instead of meds

Some Pentecostal pastors are being accused of telling state patients they should abandon their lifesaving medication and rather depend on prayers.

13 July 2018 | Local News

Health ministry permanent secretary Petronella Masabane has lifted the veil on how so-called church leaders are discouraging patients from taking their lifesaving medication.

She also confirmed the ministry has banned loud and noisy church services and prayer sessions at state health facilities, saying they are disruptive and infringe on the rights of others.

“I say so-called, because a true church leader will not be so irresponsible as to put people's lives at risk. It is not only happening at the Windhoek Central Hospital, but everywhere. It is also not only at hospitals, but even at church gatherings,” she said.

This was one of the main issues to emerge during visits by the parliamentary standing committee on gender equality, led by Swapo MP Ida Hoffmann, to several state hospitals and clinics in the Khomas Region.

According to Hoffmann, doctors at the Windhoek Central Hospital reached out to the parliamentarians to intervene, as a number of critically ill patients are refusing to take their medication, on the advice of local Pentecostal pastors.

“The main issue that stood out at the central hospital in particular is the churches that flock to the hospitals. The doctors told us that they try their best with their patients, but the pastors tell them that they are praying for them, so there is no need for them to take medication. And as a result these people's health deteriorate and some of them eventually die,” said Hoffmann.

According to her, other issues putting a strain on healthcare is the dire shortage of nurses and doctors at public health facilities.

Hoffmann also expressed concern over the state of some clinics, which have exceeded their lifespan and have poor infrastructure.

“At some places there are really very ugly cracks and it is worrisome because you never know when something can fall apart. Many of the clinics and hospitals are also very old buildings,” she said.

The standing committee is currently compiling their observations and will table a report in the National Assembly during its next session.

“We will even extend an invitation to health minister Bernard Haufiku to sit down with the gender committee, so we can discuss these issues,” said Hoffmann.

Ombudsman John Walters said it is sad that some people can still be so naive to believe these irresponsible pastors.

He urged the health ministry to reinforce security at state facilities, in order to make sure that scrupulous church leaders are not allowed into hospitals.

“It is unbelievable. I want to tell those people that God only helps those people who help themselves by taking their medication. I cannot believe that people can still be influenced like this, in this modern age,” he said.

The committee that was split into two groups visited the Otjomuise clinic, the Robert Mugabe clinic, the Windhoek central and Katutura state hospitals, the Maxuilili clinic, the Katutura clinic, as well as the Groot-Aub and Dordabis clinics.

As recently as last year, Haufiku strongly condemned self-proclaimed prophets and traditional doctors, who claim to have the power to cure diseases such as HIV/Aids.

Haufiku told community members in the Oshana Region that people with illnesses should seek help from medical facilities and not from “prophets”.

“Why don't we think for ourselves, as someone will be making money from you by telling you lies. Many people have died of HIV, not because of the virus but because they were told lies by a prophet that came from wherever into Namibia to make money, telling people that he or she can heal you with prayers and that you should stop taking your medication,” Haufiku said at the time.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the Eloolo clinic.

“We are being crooked and lied to by these people and we are still believing in them… we have to stop this nonsense,” he said.

The minister also made reference to advertisements for “magic bullet” remedies purported to cure a variety of ailments.

Haufiku said he would engage with the information ministry and the Health Professions Councils of Namibia to stop of any form of medical advertisement in the mainstream media.


Similar News


State urged to take land by force

21 hours ago | Local News

If those currently in possession of farms are not willing to sell them to government at a reasonable price, the constitution should be amended to...

Is Windhoek hierso!

21 hours ago | Local News

Windhoek is now ranked as Africa's fifth most expensive city to live in by a survey that measures the cost of living in various cities...

Ex-cop denied bail

21 hours ago | Local News

The Windhoek High Court yesterday refused bail to a former police constable on trial for the brutal murder of his two sons in 2014.Albertus !Ganeb,...

Govt project sparks San eviction fears

21 hours ago | Local News

A first nation community, who are already experiencing poverty and despair, say their rights are being violated and government has chosen to ignore their pleas.Members...

A humble warrior

21 hours ago | Local News

As the country mourns Theo-Ben Gurirab, many have reflected on his humility, saying he always made time for friend and foe. Gurirab is being remembered...

Ohangwena tayi kondjitha ombuto yoHIV

21 hours ago | Local News

Konyala aantu yeli po 53 267 oya konaakonwa ombuto yoHIV moshitopolwa shaHangwena, moshikako shomvula yo2017/18, naantu 2 146 oya monika ombuto.Omiyalu ndhoka odha etitha...

Futeni iishoshela yepangelo - Schlettwein

21 hours ago | Local News

Ominista yEmona, Calle Schlettwein oya holola omaiyuvo gawo kutya aakwashigwana ayehe mboka haya mono iiyemo tayi pumbwa okufutilwa iishoshela oya pumbwa okufuta iishoshela yepangelo,...

Pay your dues - Schlettwein

1 day - 17 July 2018 | Local News

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein is of the opinion that all citizens must pay tax, irrespective of the sector they are engaged in.This follows moves by...

Air Nam appeals Zim impounding

1 day - 17 July 2018 | Local News

Air Namibia has lodged an appeal against a court order issued in Zimbabwe to impound its planes after a Zimbabwean family sued the airline for...

Man loses head in brick machine

1 day - 17 July 2018 | Local News

A 26-year-old man lost his life on Friday in Swakopmund while he was cleaning a brickmaking machine. His head was fractured and cut off when...

Latest News

Calle urges parties to account

21 hours ago | Economics

NDAMA NAKASHOLEFinance minister Calle Schlettwein has urged each political party to remain accountable to the public in regard to the public funds it receives.The figures...

Rest easy, gentle giant

21 hours ago | Opinion

The late Theo-Ben Gurirab was without an iota of doubt a gentle giant, whose life was lived in service and dedication to Namibia's struggle for...

Dangote signs US$650mln Afreximbank loan

21 hours ago | Economics

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has signed a US$650 million loan facility with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for his oil refinery project in Nigeria.Africa’s...

New revenue agency operational by...

21 hours ago | Government

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein is optimistic that the much-anticipated Namibia Revenue Agency will be operational come 1 March 2019. This will coincide with the start...

Dippenaar blames Joschko for crash

21 hours ago | Justice

Jandré Dippenaar has placed the blame for a crash in which six people died squarely on the shoulders of Markus Walter Joschko, who was also...

CIF, NSI highlight criticality of...

21 hours ago | Economics

STAFF REPORTERAn efficient use of scarce financial resources both in the public and private sector demands an awareness and application of building standards and adherence...

Ramaphosa talks tough on mine...

21 hours ago | Economics

Safety is a huge issue in South Africa’s deep and dangerous mines and increasingly a focus for investors. A spate of deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold...

NAB appoints new CEO

21 hours ago | Agriculture

The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has announced the appointment of Dr Fidelis Nyambe Mwazi as its newly appointed CEO. Mwazi takes over the reins from...

Seed bill could limit imports...

21 hours ago | Agriculture

The Seed and Seed Varieties Bill, expected to be adopted by the National Assembly, could limit the importing and exporting of seeds, finance minister Calle...

Load More