The Zimbabwean government urged people prescribed with anti-retroviral treatment to take their medication, dismissing claims by a prophet that he found a cure for HIV. File picture: Moeletsi Mabe

Harare - The Zimbabwean government on Monday urged people prescribed with anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to take their medication, dismissing claims by a prophet that he found a cure for HIV.

“There are processes and procedures that a medicine should go through before it is recognised as effective and safe for use by patients,” Minister of Information Monica Mutsvangwa said.

“Medicines go through rigorous tests including clinical trials which involve use of the medicine under strict medical supervision … neither of the cited medicines register on the register of clinical trials kept by the ministry. Medicines require approval by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe and the medicine has not yet been submitted for review and assessment.”

Government and medical bodies dismissed claims by prophet Walter Magaya that he reportedly found a cure for HIV. He reportedly told people on treatment to stop taking their medication.

On Sunday, Magaya told his Waterfalls church that God had given him a dream in which he was shown the tree from which he extracted the cure with the help of an Indian pharmaceutical firm.

“Since 2015 I have been praying asking God how I can heal everyone,” he said.

The National AIDS Council (NAC) advised people on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to take their medication as prescribed by their healthcare professionals.

“Currently there is no known cure for HIV. Any medicines that are said to cure HIV have to go through quality assurance and get the necessary approvals by the regulatory authorities in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe," NAC chief executive officer, Dr Tapuwa Magure said.

Magure said new medications should first be subjected to rigorous clinical trials before they could be made available for consumption.

“NAC is not aware of any such clinical trials locally or globally that have been conducted showing efficacy in the management of HIV. Those that claim to have discovered a cure must provide sufficient scientific evidence and regulatory approvals before going public with their claims.”

Zimbabwe currently has an estimated 1.2 million people receiving ART.

Doctors for Human Rights also voiced their concern over the prophet’s announcement, saying it would result in loss of lives as people stopped treatment.

African News Agency/ANA