Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Macheso saga triggers debate

HARARE - Sungura music star Alick Macheso, who has fallen out with his former wife Tafadzwa Mapako — has sparked fierce debate over the way he treated his children for sunken fontanels (nhova).

This comes as the award-winning star is fending off a costly divorce from his ex-second wife who sensationally claimed Macheso had ‘inserted’ his manhood in the mouth of one of his children to treat nhova.
Macheso saga triggers debate
Macheso has strongly denied the claims which he says are calculated to assault his reputation following the collapse of his marriage to Mapako.

This week fierce debate erupted over the traditional versus medicinal ways of treating sunken fontanels.

Deputy minister of Health Paul Chimedza said there was nothing mystical about sunken fontanels as they could easily be treated at local clinics.

He said sunken fontanels were caused by dehydration in children and that the condition could be easily treated by using oral rehydration methods such as the sugar and salt solution.

Traditional healers, on one hand prescribe certain herbs to treat the condition while some apostolic sects rub salt inside the baby’s mouth, but Chimedza said the anomaly could easily be corrected by hydrating the child.

Even traditional healers quoted in the media throughout the week; spoke out against the methods of exposing one’s private parts to treat a child.

Nyaradzo Gumbonzvanda, a human rights activist said the traditional methods as the one described by Macheso of kutara which also involves exposing one’s genitals to a baby were akin to child abuse

“I think these are some of the practices which are dangerous, retrogressive, and ones which create opportunities for child abuse. This kutara should be prohibited, discouraged or criminalised.

“If a child has nhova (collapsed or bulged), just take the kid to hospital,” Gumbonzvanda wrote on her Facebook page.

Patience Chiyangwa, Childline public relations manager said her organisation had been prompted by the public to act on the Macheso matter.

“As Childline we usually act in a manner that is in the best interest of the child and we have already engaged the parent after the public outcry,” Chiyangwa said.

Virginia Muwanigwa, chairperson of the Women’s Coalition in Zimbabwe said: “It is a bit worrying because we know that there are cultural practices, but there is a thin line between cultural practices and human rights abuse.

“If it did happen then it is an issue of concern because there is child protection on one hand,” Muwanigwa said.

Alec Matimba, a pastor with Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe, said while any sickness or discomfort to the body was associated with the demonic activity, it was also important to act in a responsible manner when dealing with such matters.

The pastor said that while prayer was helpful, it was of utmost importance to deal with the matter using proven medical interventions which had been proven to be effective in the past.

“We pray against sickness and disease but we should do so with the understanding that the devil sometimes uses human ignorance to compound situations for instance we understand that sunken fontanels are caused by dehydration.

“We must therefore look at the facts on the ground and follow medical interventions which have been informed by research,” Matimba said.

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