New Zimbabwe - May 10, 2011
Apostolic sects agree to immunisation
by New Zimbabwe Staff Reporter
THE various Apostolic Faith sects and Zionist churches have lifted a ban on their members from having their children immunised against Zimbabwe’s six main killer diseases, officials confirmed.
The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), an ecumenical board of Apostolic and Zionist churches, said Monday that it was adopting a constitution making it mandatory for members to vaccinate and immunise their children.
The latest breakthrough follows years of lobbying by health authorities, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe who have used appearances at church conventions to call on the churches to embrace immunisation.
“There have been clashes between some members of the Apostolic and Zionist churches and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare over the issue of immunisation. It has been alleged that some members have been refusing to immunise their children on religious grounds. We want to change that and, as a board, we are working towards a solution,” said Bishop Johannes Ndanga, speaking in Gokwe where Headman Chisina was named patron of the Apostolic and Zionist Churches.
“We want our members to participate in the national immunisation programmes often carried out by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. Our teams will be touring parts of the country, visiting all indigenous Apostolic and Zionist church leaders to table all issues of concern that each church has been failing to address or overcome. ACCZ will also use this platform to urge all members to immunise their children.”
Health officials say hundreds of children have died in recent years after their parents refused to have them immunised, citing strict religious beliefs. Measles have been the biggest killer.
Some members of the Apostolic churches shun most forms of western medicine in the belief that it diminishes their supernatural powers.
Last year, Jeremiah Makumbe, 39, of Bhuka Farm in the Soti Source Resettlement Scheme allegedly murdered his wife, Beauty Mboneki , 33, by kicking and hitting her with an iron bar after she took their children to a local clinic to be vaccinated.
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