Koforidua, Jan. 5, GNA - Over 3,500 People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) are taking herbal medicines prepared and dispensed to them by the Kumasi-based Bible Research Church at hospitals including the Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching hospitals. The Head Physician of the Church, Pastor Robert Kwaku Owusu, said the Church started dispensing the preparations to the PLWHAs since 1994. He said a five-member team of medical researchers appointed by the Ministry of Health examined some of the patients in 1999 and recommended the "efficacy" of the preparations.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency he said 30 of the patients were selected randomly for clinical tests from among AIDS and HIV positive patients within the Akwatia St Dominic's Hospital catchments area. The researchers were drawn from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and three other public hospitals.
Pastor Owusu said the researchers concluded, "The various herbal preparations are useful in controlling some of the clinical presentations of AIDS and HIV positive patients." Pastor Owusu said the Church, which started dispensing its preparations free of charge to PLWHAs fortnightly since 1994, said it catered for over 600 patients at the Fevers Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, 1,500 at the KATH, 700 at the St Dominic Hospital, Akwatia and over 100 each at the Aflao, Techiman, Koforidua St Joseph's and Cape Coast Hospitals.
Over 50 patients each were also served at Bolgatanga, Tamale, Takoradi and Agormanya Hospitals, he added. Pastor Owusu appealed to the government and NGOs to assist the Church with means of transport and machines for bottling and manufacturing tablets and capsules. He commended the Ghana AIDS Commission for its financial support to the Church in its efforts to fight the pandemic.
Commenting on the claims of Pastor the Rev. Fr Alex Bobby Benson, Director of the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) of the Catholic Diocese of Koforidua that also runs the "Matthew Chapter 25 House" acknowledged the potency of the Church's herbal preparations in the management of the HIV/AIDS cases, catering for over 100 PLWHAs at Akwatia and Koforidua,. He said, "Until the country imports anti-retroviral drugs, we have to rely solely on the herbal preparations of Pastor Owusu's Church."