Witchcraft gives caregivers a hard time

The audio is in isiZulu. See English summary below.

MABUTHO: Ukwanda kwesibalo sabantu abashona ngokugula kanye nokwanda kwezikhungo ezinakekela abantu abaphila negciwane le HIV kuyizinkomba zokuthi nasendaweni yaseTzaneen esifundazweni sase Limpopo igciwane le HIV lidla lubi. Okuqaphelekayo ukuthi iningi lomphakathi wakulendawo usenokufihla okukhulu ngegciwane le HIV. Lokhu kwesinye isikhathi kuba ngenxa yokwesaba ukucwasweka emphakathini. Okunye futhi ukuqaphelekayo ngalendawo ukuthi kunokukholelwa kakhulu kubuthakathi. Lokhu kwenza ukuthi nomuntu onegciwane le HIV iCD4 count yakhe eyehle kakhulu nokudingeka athole amakhambi wamaARVs, anga hambi ukuyothola usizo emitholampilo ngenkolelo yokuthi uthakathiwe nokuthi kuthiwe ukugula kwakhe kungabanjwa ngabelaphi bendabuko kuphela. U Violet Mothapa ungunompilo okanye icommunity caregiver ngaphansi kwe  Mothupa Clinic khona eTzaneen. Masonto onke uhambela abantu abangaphezulu kwabayisihlanu (5) abagulayo iningi labo abanegciwane le HIV kanye nesifo se TB. Uthi okumphatha kabi ukuthi ngezinye izikhathi uba nokuphazamiseka emsebenzini wakhe wokunakekela abagulayo ngenxa yokuthi eminye imindeni kulendawo yase Tzaneen kayifuni ukuthi amalunga ayo agulayo ayiswe ezibhedlela ngoba anenkolelo yokuthi ukugula kwawo kuhambisana nokuthakathwa, nakholwa ukuthi kungaqedwa ngemithi yabelaphi bendabuko kuphela.

VIOLET MOTHAPA: I have a patient who passed away and her family believes in witchcraft. When I first went there, I started nursing her and the patient was gradually becoming better. Then they (the family) told me to stop nursing the patient until their muthi thing is finished. I only continued to pray with them. The patient died.

MABUTHO: Uthi kuyinto ejwayelekile ukuthi uma eyobona iziguli zakhe ngezinye izikhathi athole ukuthi zithathiwe zayiswa kubelaphi bendabuko. Uthi kwesinye isikhathi uze atshelwe ukuthi akangabe esaqhubeka nokuzinakekela kuze kuba ziqeda amakhambi esintu eziwadlayo. Uthi nakuba ebembona esengcono njengoba ubesedla ama ARVs kodwa unokwesabela ukuthi yini ezokwenzeka emva kokuhamba abalaphi bendabuko.

VIOLET MOTHAPA: I have another patient. , I went there on a Tuesday. I find out that it was only child (that was there). When I asked where was the mother she said they had taken her to a certain traditional healer. She was already on ARVs and she was improving. Now that she went there to the witchdoctors, I do not know what will happen and I am worried about her.

MABUTHO: UGift Nkwinika usebenza njenge community caregiver eHumulani, ePhalaborwa khona esifundazweni saseLimpopo okuyibanga elithi alibe ngama khilomitha angu 200 ukusuka eTzaneen. Lendawo yaseHumulani igcwele kakhulu abantu abasuka eMozambuque ngezikhathi zezimpi phakathi kwe Renamo kanye ne Frelimo. Iningi labo lababantu sebevele banobulungu bobuzwe baseNingizimu Africa kanti vele bakhuluma ulimi olulodwa nabantu bakulendawo nokungulimi lwesiShangane. Kepha abantu abangabomnsinsi wokuzimilela kulendawo bayakwazi ukuhlukanisa phakathi kwamaShangane aseMozombique kanye nawaseNingizimu Africa ngenxa yokuhluka kwamasiko abo nangendlela abalukhuluma ngayo lolulimi. UGift naye uthi nakulomphakathi waseRhumulani banenkinga enkulu yabantu abagulayo abangafuni ukuthi baye ezibhedlela ngenxa yokuthi banenkolelo yokuthi bayathakathwa nokuthi ukugula kwabo kungaxazululwa imithi yesintu kuphela.

GIFT NKWINIKA: People here don’€™t want to go to the clinic, even if you beg them ‘€¦.You find out that the person is very sick. When you beg him to go to the clinic he says, ‘€˜no, in the clinic I am going to die. This thing needs a traditional way to deal with it.

MABUTHO: UGift uthi nakuba kumphatha kabi ukuthi abantu abaningi abagulayo kulendawo abafuni ukuya ema clinic uthi kodwa uzoqhubeka nomsebenzi wakhe wokunxenxa labo abafunayo ukusizakala ngoba umsebenzi wakhe akuwona owokuphoqa abantu ukuba baye ema clinic noma bengafuni.

GIFT NKWINIKA: I am helping people who want to be helped, but (those) who do not want (to be helped) there is nothing we can do (for them) because we are not forcing (anyone).

MABUTHO: Ngokuka Prof David Dickinson wase Wits Business School osanda ukwenza ucwaningo ngegciwane le HIV kubasebenzi basezimayini uthi lokhu kungathandisisi kweminye imiphakathi ukuya kodokotela besilungu akudalwa ukungazi ngemithi yesilungu. UProf Dickinson uqhuba athi nakuba kungavunyelwana ngokuthi amakhambi esilungu ayasebenza kepha anezinto ezingathandeki kubantu ezifana nokudla ama ARVs impilo yakho yonke ukuthiba igciwane kanye nokusebenzisa icondom ukulivikela kungafani nemithi yesintu ephuzwa kube kanye.

PROF DAVID DICKINSON: I don’€™t think that the problem is that people don’€™t have access to information from Western medical science. I think the problem is there are high levels of competition that is seeking to explain AIDS to our population. We might all agree that Western medicine is the way to go, but you have to stay on drugs for the rest of your life. You’€™ve got to put on a condom for the rest of your life. That is not attractive.

MABUTHO: Iningi labantu abamnyama ezindaweni zasemakhaya kanye nasemalokishini imbala nakuba abanye babo bebahamba odokotela besilungu kepha kabalibali ukuhambela kubelaphi bendabuko njengoba benenkolelo yokuthi   kukhona izifo ezingasoze zelashwa ngodokotela besilungu.

English summary.

Witchcraft gives caregivers a hard time

In Tzaneen, in Limpopo, denial and witchcraft give caregivers a hard time, as families of AIDS patients believe that their illnesses cannot be treated using Western medicines.

Although there are no reliable statistics, the high death rate of young people from illnesses believed to be AIDS-related as well as the increasing number of caregivers working to alleviate the plight of those with AIDS in recent years, shows that the epidemic has a huge impact in the area.

However, HIV/AIDS denial besets most communities in Tzaneen.  The families of those suspected to be having AIDS, often claim that they have been bewitched and that only traditional healers can heal their sickness.

Patients who have AIDS, instead of being taken to clinics or hospitals to check their status and be put on ART if necessary, that is, if their CD4 count is below 200, are often taken to traditional healers. That is according to Violet Mothapa, a 30-year old local caregiver attached to Mothupa clinic, outside Tzaneen.

Mothapa visits more than five patients every week, the majority of whom have HIV and TB, the most common opportunistic infection in people living with AIDS. Mothapa says it is not easy trying to help the sick. She says, sometimes families tell her to stop nursing the patients so they can use traditional medicines on them.

‘€œI have a patient who passed away and her family believes in witchcraft. When I first went there, I started nursing her and the patient was gradually becoming better. Then they (the family) told me to stop nursing the patient until their muthi thing is finished. I only continued to pray with them. The patient died,’€ said Mothapa.

Gift Nkwinika is also working as a community caregiver at Humulani, in Phalaborwa, about 200 km from Tzaneen. It’€™s mainly Mozambiquan refugees who left their country at the height of the war between Renamo and Frelimo who occupy the area. Most of them have been able to acquire South African citizenship. Like Mothapa, Nkwinika, is facing a similar problem of people who are refusing to go to clinics because they believe that they are being bewitched and that traditional healers are the only ones who can save them.

‘€œPeople here don’€™t want to go to the clinic, even if you beg them ‘€¦.You find out that the person is very sick. When you beg him to go to the clinic he says, ‘€˜no, in the clinic I am going to die. This thing needs a traditional way to deal with it,’€ said Nkwinika. As she continues, her heart-ache at this is evident. ‘€œI am helping people who want to be helped, but (those) who do not want (to be helped) there is nothing we can do (for them) because we are not forcing (anyone),’€ she said.

According to Professor David Dickinson of Wits Business School, who recently released research on the role of peer-educators in creating awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the workplace, there is tough competition between Western and traditional medicines.

‘€œI don’€™t think that the problem is that people don’€™t have access to information from Western medical science. I think the problem is there are high levels of competition that is seeking to explain AIDS to our population. We might all agree that Western medicine is the way to go, but you have to stay on drugs for the rest of your life. You’€™ve got to put on a condom for the rest of your life. That is not attractive,’€ he said.

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