Under-Fire Prophet Sanyangore Blasted... Infuriates International Experts

EXPERTS at the recently held International Conference on HIV and STIs in Africa discouraged religious leaders from misleading their congregants on issues pertaining to HIV as this would threaten the progress made so far in the fight against sexual infections.

The 18th edition of ICASA was held over six days since last Sunday.

Receiving much attention at the conference was the crucial role played by faith based organisations in the fight against HIV and STIs.

Following a recent case in which Paul Sanyangore, a Harare based pastor purportedly anointed condoms for his female congregants, experts held a press conference to address concerns to do with ill-advised information.
Under-Fire Prophet Sanyangore Blasted... Infuriates International Experts
New York based United Nations Population Fund senior technical advisor, Bidia Deperthey said medical experts are better placed to deal with condoms.
“The condom is a medical device. lt is quality tested, there is an entire guidance by World Health Organisation to ensure that it is of the highest quality.
“Of course the condom are transported, sometimes taking several months in the containers before arriving.

But when they arrive, the Government’s national regulatory authorities conduct post shipment tests to make sure that the quality on the certificate is maintained. lf they found fit they are then distributed to the people.
“So there is nothing that a church can say and do about a Holy Spirit anointment of the condom. This misleads the population, they should be ashamed of themselves for doing that,” Deperthy said.
Deperthey said governments should educate communities, churches included, about HIV and Aids.
“I think it’s the role of the Government. They know what to do when they make them (condoms) available to the country.

If they have such a pastor going around and saying nonsense about something that they have nothing to do with, the Ministry of Health (and Child Care) should call them, sit down with them and tell them they should never do that.
lts none of their business (the pastor). It’s a medical device, it belongs to the Ministry of Health. We should leave the condoms to them.
“Like the Ministry of Health cannot go about preaching about the Word of God, we should leave the church to care about people’s spiritual health.
“Whatever they say is going to be personal opinion and it is going to be misleading.”
However, Deperthey said religious leaders should also talk about abstinence.
“But if we see that abstinence isn’t the only way, we have to give them instructions about using the condom because we don’t want people of our congregation to get infected.
“We have the moral duty to tell them everything, from abstinence to using condoms to being faithful in their relationships when they are married, or to get tested and treatment etcetera.
“If people go to their pastor because they trust him or her and the pastor can educate them or bring in social workers to do so, that is good. There is nothing against that.
“Ignorance can be corrected but we have to take the right steps.

We have lots of social workers, lots of NGOs in our communities doing excellent work, the church can work with them,” Deperthey added.

UNFPA Copenhagen’s Mr Eric Dupont said religious leaders can take the role of ambassadors in the fight against HIV.
“UNFPA should work with faith based organisations to convince them to be ambassadors because people are listening to them.
“We have the same goals, we want people to be HIV free so let’s work together,” Mr Dupont said.
Recent surveys have shown that as much as 71 percent of the local population trust their religious leaders, hence their crucial role in influencing society.

Over 5000 delegates attended ICASA which ran under the theme ‘HIV/AIDS in post 2015 Era; Linking Leadership, Science and Human Rights’.

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