Mushonga, popularly known as Dr Muzenda, from Nyamadzawo village in Dema in Seke, Chitungwiza, says most of his clients are couples. He plans to take his ‘divine concoction’ to the laboratory to have it tested and certified as the official cure for HIV/AIDS. There is no known cure for the virus, although clinical trials are underway in Denmark where researchers at the Aarhus University hospital are using a novel approach to fight it.
According to the UNAIDS report on the Global AIDS epidemic: 2012, sub-Saharan Africa remains most severely affected with nearly one in every 20 adults living with HIV – accounting for 69 percent of the people living with HIV worldwide.
However, the number of people dying from AIDS-related causes in the region declined by 32 percent from 2005 to 2011, although the region accounted for 70 percent of all the people dying from AIDS.
Zimbabwe has an HIV adult prevalence rate of 15 percent and the country achieved 93 percent coverage of treatment using anti-retroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, while 95 percent of adult Zimbabweans eligible for HIV treatment, are receiving it.
Gloria Jeremiah, a public health student at the University of Malawi College of Medicine in Lilongwe recently discovered Garani MW1, which is believed to cure HIV. This powdered herbal medicine is currently in high demand in Malawi, after several people testified to its efficacy.
In Zimbabwe, several prophets and traditional healers have in the past claimed to provide a cure, but no analyses have been made to prove such claims.
Mushonga, whose billboards advertising that he cures HIV are strewn across Harare and Chitungwiza operates from his ‘clinic’ – a grass thatched hut at his home in Dema.
He told The Zimbabwean that most of the clients that he had cured “were beyond repair if they had used anti-retroviral drugs.”
“Those whom I have cured are people who had been diagnosed at health institutions. I only treat patients who know that they are HIV positive after they have undergone the HIV tests at the hospital or clinic,” he said, adding that he requests for doctors’ diagnosis as a way of establishing the level of infection in his patients.
“Sometimes, I am compelled to treat ailments such as gonorrhea, herpes or any other sexually transmitted infections before giving my patient the medicine for HIV,” he said. “My medicine is taken only once and it eliminates the virus within seven days. Those that I have treated have gone back to the doctors for testing only to be told that the virus is no longer there in their bodies.”
He said he encourages his patients to be treated as couples to avoid re-infection with the virus.
“I treat couples for $50 and individuals for $25. People have come from as far as Zambia and Botswana. Senior and prominent members of society come at night because they do not want to be seen,” said Mushonga
A local villager, Ronald Sikokwa, said several people from the area testified that they have been cured by Mushonga. “I know of a neighbour who was on his deathbed and he was saved by this traditional healer.”
The Director of Tuberculosis and HIV Unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Owen Mugurungi, said the health ministry was willing to work with anyone who comes up with a cure for HIV, but wasextremely concerned with “false claims by some individuals within society who mislead the people and claim that they have the cure.”
“We have a traditional medicines board within the ministry and he should utilise our system to ensure that his medicine, if it works, benefits the whole nation,” said Mugurungi.