– 131 children vaccinated at gunpoint in Nsanje (Malawi Voice, October 8, 2010):
About 131 children from Nsanje who fled into neighboring Mozambique during the anti measles vaccine a few months ago were vaccinated this week at gunpoint.
The children, belonging to Zion and Atumwi Churches were taken into Mozambique by their parents to hide them from officials fearing they might get vaccinated.
According to Dr Medison Matchaya District Health Officer for Nsanje, medics went to vaccine the children in Nsanje under police escort.
“We were alerted that some children who were hiding in Mozambique were back in the country and we asked police to escort the health officials in order to vaccinate them and we have managed to vaccinate about 131 children,” said Matchaya.
In a related development Mchinji Third Grade Magistrate Court has sentenced Appolo Chitsonga of the Seventh Day Apostolic faith to two years imprisonment for refusing his three children to access measles vaccine.
Chitsonga found himself on the wrong side of the law on September 17 after he refused his children to access free measles vaccine.
According to Police prosecutor, Chipiliro Kalimira, Chitsonga who is a senior member of his church locked his children inside a house to prevent them from receiving the vaccine and one child is believed to have died of measles.
Chitsonga whose church doctrine do not allow taking any medication and only believes in prayer for healing, pleaded guilty to the charges and asked the court to be lenient with him since is keeping orphans.
Magistrate Robert Mbewa, found Chitsonga guilty of an offence of endangering life by failing to supply necessities of life to a person under ones care without lawful excuse according to section 242 of the penal code.
Chitsonga, who hails from Majamanda Village in the area of Traditional Authority Makwangwala in Ntcheu, was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment with hard labor.