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Doctors alarmed as patients seek Loliondo 'wonder drug'

BUSINESS
By | Jun 11th 2011 | 2 min read
By | June 11th 2011
BUSINESS

By Leonard Korir and Karanja Njoroge

Medical practitioners in Trans Mara District have raised alarm over a worrying trend of patients withdrawing from treatment after travelling to Loliondo, Tanzania for the "wonder drug cure".

Led by the area District Medical Officer of Health, Aggrey Ouko, the medical professionals said patients undergoing treatment for HIV, tuberculosis, diabetes, hypertension, among other life threatening ailments, were stopping treatment after visiting the ‘healer’.

He said records at various health facilities have shown a sharp decline in the number of patients attending the facilities after visiting Loliondo.

National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) Chairman Prof Richard Muga (left) addresses journalists at Mombasa Intercontinental Resort during a one-week global health experts conference. [photo: MAARUFU MOHAMMED/Standard]

The officer reported that some HIV patients had abandoned taking anti-retroviral drugs under the belief they had been cured.

Lives at stake

Addressing an HIV advocacy forum in Kilgoris, which brought together local leaders and the Provincial Administration, Ouko said several lives of patients were at stake if no immediate action was taken to address the issue. He said some of the patients who had withdrawn from hospital treatment have developed Multi-Drugs Resistance (MDR), a condition that makes it possible for a disease-causing organism to resist distinct drugs.

Separately, doctors in Nakuru say that 30 years since the first HIV/Aids case was reported, self-stigmatisation remains a major barrier in provision of medical services to those living with the disease.

Lawrence Otemba, an advisor with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, says most of those infected still avoid seeking medical services for fear of discrimination. Dr Otemba said it’s important to increase care and support for those infected and also intensify the fight against stigmatisation of those living with the virus.

"People fear that if they come out and seek medical services they will be discriminated and as a result a lot of people do not even know their status," he added. He was speaking in Nakuru during a visit by a Japanese delegation to a project run by Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK).

Infected and affected

The delegation was on a tour to evaluate the activities carried out by FHOK aimed at improving quality of lives of people infected and affected with HIV/Aids in Nakuru.

FHOK project Coordinator Jane Adero said that the formation of support groups in the town has assisted those infected to cope and live longer.

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