By Fadzai Ndangana
Apostolic and Zionist churches in Zimbabwe are now acknowledging the critical role of immunization in combating the ongoing cholera outbreak. These indigenous churches, represented by the registered Trust UDACIZA, have realized the importance of dispelling misconceptions and promoting the acceptance of vaccination and child immunization among their members.
In a recent interview, Innocent Chitanda, the Secretary General of UDACIZA, expressed the organization’s determination to address the issue. Chitanda acknowledged that some churches have misinterpreted the word of God, but emphasized the importance of making them understand that accepting vaccination is crucial in preventing unnecessary deaths.
He stated, “Right now, we are appealing to donors to support us with resources so that we can reach Buhera and other cholera-affected areas. Our aim is to educate and inform apostolic sects about the necessity of vaccination.”
Chitanda further highlighted that biblical references support the use of medicine for healing. He mentioned the example of Isaiah being instructed by God to use medicine to heal when the prophet Hosea was on the brink of death. By drawing parallels from the Bible, UDACIZA hopes to encourage apostolic sects to embrace the importance of vaccines.
Despite these efforts, vaccine hesitancy remains a significant challenge among apostolic sects. Madzimai Chipo Musonza from Vapostori vedare expressed the belief held by some members of her church. She stated, “At our church, we firmly believe that the Holy Spirit takes care of us. We trust that any pandemic or epidemic will be revealed in the spiritual realm before it manifests in the physical world.” This belief leads them to rely solely on divine intervention and spiritual healing practices, rejecting conventional medical treatments and immunizations.
Meanwhile, at the epicenter of the cholera outbreak in Buhera, the situation remains dire. Cholera has wreaked havoc, with a staggering number of cases reported. As of yesterday, Zimbabwe had recorded 108 new suspected cholera cases, (3) suspected deaths and (2) laboratory confirmed results were reported today.
The cases were reported from Chitungwiza City (34), Buhera (31), Harare (11), Mutare (11), Gutu (11), Zaka (4),Chipinge (3), Chegutu (2) and Sanyati (1).