Apostolic sect causes health crisis

Jul 1, 2014

By The Zimbabwean


“This is a national but silent crisis that requires urgent attention from government and human rights organisations. It is a sad thing that most of the victims are innocent children and young women,” said Melanie Chiponda of the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) this week.

It is difficult to establish the exact figures because surviving family members do not seek burial orders, while local community structures do not record the deaths. But rights activists believe several hundreds die every year.

The Johanne Marange Apostolic sect has many thousands of members. A large group is located close to the vast diamond mining fields of Chiadzwa led by Noah Taguta, a polygamist believed to have more than 100 wives and several hundred children.

Communities members testified to this paper that death among the sect followers has become a daily routine. Josphat Makowa, a senior sect follower in his early 50s from Muchisi Village in Chiadzwa’s Ward 18, has to date lost 22 children, all aged below 12.

Makowa, with seven surviving wives, has had all his children delivered at home and none of them, or his wives, have ever visited a health centre. Recently, he asked villagers to help upgrade the 22 graves, which cover close to an acre of land.

Sub-chief Munyoro, whose jurisdiction straddles wards 17 and 18, recently expressed anger at the rate at which church members were dying.

“He urged the members to seek help at clinics and hospitals, saying he was tired of burying Apostolic members,” said a villager who declined to be named.

From the same village as Makowa, John Mutumba, referred to by most of the locals as “Bhunu”, has buried 15 children in the last six years.

Peter Chikura, another Johanne Marange worshipper with six wives, has seen 75 children from his extended family which lives on the same homestead die in the last decade.

“In some cases, as many as two children would die at the same time and be buried without notifying the Registrar of Deaths. This family represents one of the saddest cases in the sect, with a good number of the children being Chikura’s grandchildren,” said Chiponda.

12 comments on “Apostolic sect causes health crisis

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    @js 5:21 why?

    Abuse and gross violation of human rights, dismal maternity conditions.

    forced to give birth at home

    Sadly ironic. Just yesterday (Hobby Lobby ruling), I was venting to a friend about women’s reproductive rights being stonewalled by religious fanatics (world wide).

    So many people ready and willing to help, but their hands are tied >(

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  • So why are they dying? Because the aren’t getting healthcare? How the hell did humans survive up until 100 years ago without healthcare?

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  • Wouldn’t I be correct to say that to survive all that is necessary is for births to outnumber deaths?
    Before healthcare was available, infant mortality was sky-high compared to what it now is in advanced countries like the United States. Oh, wait… :-/


    EDIT: “Sect members reportedly run away from community rights activists and health staff who regularly visit them in an effort to educate them on the need to go to seek medical help.”

    Evolution in action?

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  • From an article from World Health Organization:

    Women in developing countries have on average many more pregnancies than women in developed countries, and their lifetime risk of death due to pregnancy is higher. A woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death – the probability that a 15 year old woman will eventually die from a maternal cause – is 1 in 3700 in developed countries, versus 1 in 160 in developing countries.

    Why do women die?
    Women die as a result of complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these complications develop during pregnancy. Other complications may exist before pregnancy but are worsened during pregnancy. The major complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are:

    severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth)
    infections (usually after childbirth)
    high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)
    complications from delivery,
    unsafe abortion.

    source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/

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  • Infants in developing nations die frequently from birth complications such as traumatic deliveries (with fractures and severe bruising from malpresentation and forceps deliveries), oxygen deprivation during prolonged labor/delivery, abruption, placenta previa, infection from exposure to pathogens in the birth canal, and tetanus from unsanitary umbilical cord cutting. If they survive the neonatal period, they often die of preventable childhood diseases such as measles and meningitis. The only reason developing countries have large populations is that they have an extremely high birth rate, mostly very young, fertile women having as many children as possible due to lack of birth control, child marriages, and the need to produce a labor force to replace those children who die.

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  • Sickeningly ironic that Christian groups whose claim to fame is that God and Jesus solve all problems are responsible for increasing human misery and suffering exponentially wherever they go. It also enrages me that Christians claim that they are bringing enlightenment and civilization to poor, benighted heathens in third-world countries, when all they are really doing is substituting one set of superstitions for another, much more harmful, superstition. Meanwhile, ignorance and poverty continue to wreak their tragic havoc.

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  • They survived at much the same rate that they do in Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa today. That is to say, not very well. Human reproduction is a very risky business.

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  • apostolic: adj. 1 relating to the Apostles. 2 relating to the Pope, especially when he is regarded as the successor to St Peter.

    Apostolic Fathers: pl n. the Christian leaders immediately succeeding the Apostles.

    apostolic succession: n. the uninterrupted transmission of spiritual authority from the Apostles through successive popes and bishops, taught by the Roman Catholic Church but denied by most Protestants.

    (Concise Oxford English Dictionary)

    So, there you have it: total self-serving tripe; a fairy-tale for adults.

    Result? Carnage!

    “…for nature cannot be fooled.”

    This is the most distressing thing I have read in a very long time.

    Pity the children.

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