A person has reportedly died of Cholera while seven others have been infected as their church leaders were busy praying for their healing at a prayer camp in Balaka district since their religious belief forbids seeking medical treatment.
District Director of Health and Social Services, Dr. Eugine Katenga Kaunda disclosed this on Saturday when Deputy Minister of Health, Enock Phale was inspecting Balaka District Hospital.
Kaunda could not give details of the church in question and their leaders. But Phale described the development as worrisome, saying some religious beliefs are fueling the Cholera spread.
“It is worrisome that some churches are still denying their followers to seek medical treatment. It is sad we are losing lives due to those beliefs,” said Phale.
He told religious and traditional leaders to avoid misleading people in the name of cultural and religious beliefs; stressing seeking medication is a human right.
The district chairperson of rapid response team, Dr Leone Lowole lamented that most patients report late to the hospital when the disease reaches its advanced stage.
Balaka is amongst the districts that have run out of stock of oral cholera vaccine. However, Phale assures this will be addressed soon.
As of Friday, the district had recorded 802 cholera cases with 14 deaths.