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Health Department Concerned as Religious Community Rejects Medical Services  

The Health Department in Kafue District has expressed worry over a religious community in Mungu ward known as the Apostles, who are steadfastly refusing to seek medical services despite the ongoing cholera outbreak in the area.

According to Mwewa Mwaba, the Kafue District Public Health official, the department is facing challenges with the named religious group regarding adherence to and access to medical treatment when they are unwell. 

The community has reportedly recorded a confirmed cholera death of a 62-year-old man who, despite succumbing to the illness, was not provided medical care in accordance with the religious group’s beliefs.

Ms. Mwaba explained that the Apostles community adheres to self-treatment through prayer, rejecting conventional medicine. The religious group has faced other health crises in the past, including a measles outbreak last year that claimed the lives of four children. 

Despite the severity of the situation, the community refused medical assistance until a joint effort by the health department and the Zambia police conducted a patrol to vaccinate the children.

Speaking on behalf of the religious group, Active Kaliyo, the son of the 62-year-old cholera victim, reiterated the community’s stance against seeking medical attention. 

He emphasized that members of the Apostles church believe in healing through prayer and faith and have never visited any health facility.

Mr. Kaliyo, confirming his father’s death from a short-confirmed illness, asserted that none of his family members would be affected or killed by cholera, expressing unwavering confidence in their religious faith.

Expressing sadness over the situation, Kafue Acting District Commissioner Perfecto Kabanshi, who visited Mungu ward, acknowledged the dangerous nature of cholera and its potential impact on the community. 

Dr. Kabanshi urged the community to adhere to public health cholera preventive guidelines and emphasized the importance of seeking medical attention to prevent further spread of the epidemic.

The stance of the Apostles community raises concerns among health experts, as they grapple with finding a balance between respecting religious beliefs and addressing public health emergencies effectively.

Authorities are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the need for collaboration to ensure the health and safety of all residents in the midst of the cholera outbreak.

Source: ZANIS

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