Prayer can cure, churches tell those with HIV

Seriously ill patients suffering from conditions including cancer and HIV are being encouraged by some Evangelical Christian churches to depend on prayers rather than pills.

Worshippers in London, Manchester and Glasgow have stopped taking life-saving drugs after being persuaded about the healing powers of God, according to research by the African Health Policy Network (AHPN).

A BBC London investigation yesterday revealed that at least three women with HIV have died after they stopped taking medication on the advice of their pastors.

Francis Kaikumba, chief executive of AHPN, said a family member committed suicide last year after being convinced by a church he did not suffer from a mental health problem. The man's mental health deteriorated after he stopped taking his medicine after taking guidance from the pastor.

Mr Kaikumba said: "This is a national concern... It is about spiritual healing being the preferred option for every condition and in some cases people being told that medication will damage the affects of the prayers. We have found very vulnerable people in London, Glasgow and Manchester being offered one-stop solutions to very complex issues such as diabetes, TB [Tuberculosis], cancer, as well as housing and immigration problems. This is not just a trend in the UK, it is happening on a much wider scale in Africa."

The charity said it believed the Synagogue Church of All Nations, which has its UK headquarters in south London, may be involved in such practices. The church's website shows videos and photographs of people the church claims to have been "cured" of HIV, cancers, leg ulcers and fractures.

Naomi Phillips, head of public affairs at British Humanist Association, said: "In a free society, people have the absolute right to believe what they want. However, when those in positions of influence, particularly over very vulnerable people, are promoting false cures through religious practice and even encouraging people to turn away from proper medicine, then more needs to be done."

A spokesman for the Church of All Nations told BBC London: "We are not the healer. God is the healer. Never a sickness God cannot heal. Never a disease God cannot cure. We don't ask people to stop taking medication. Doctors treat; God heals."

The website of The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which originated in Brazil and has its UK headquarters in north London, says "[it] does not claim to heal people, but believes that God can heal through the power of faith."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Plumber

    £22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

    Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

    £27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef de Partie

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This award winning conference venues provider...

    Recruitment Genius: Admin Assistant

    £12000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding Insurance Brokerag...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders