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Malawi: Invite Medical Experts Not Witch doctors to School in Mchinji

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches has urged Malawian authorities not to allow witchdoctors into Mpita Primary School in Mchinji following the fainting of some students. This appeal is in response to a suggestion by the Chairperson for the Parents Teachers Association at the institution, Lester Bamusi that the incident was perpetrated through magic. Bamusi said that a witch doctor should be allowed into the school to deal with the case.

It has been reported that about nine students from the school have passed out in the past weeks. While this development has been linked to some strange disease, the headteacher of the school, Patrick Chichitike, stated that these girls showed no symptoms of any disease after some medical examination had been carried out at a local hospital. In situations where medical examinations have yielded no concrete result, magic is imputed to make sense of a strange disease. Imputations of magic lead to witchcraft accusations and witch persecutions. Malawian authorities should resist this unhealthy trend and tendency.

Incidentally, there is little information on the medical assessment that the students underwent, the state of the hospital infrastructure, and the quality of health personnel at Kapiri Hospital. From the report, these students might be victims of a compulsive attack, hysteria, which makes children collapse, display tremors and shivers. Malawian authorities should know that mass hysteria is a common phenomenon among school children and requires scientific management by a medical expert, not a charlatan. So the school authorities should oppose the invitation or intervention of any witch doctor. They should resist a magic-based management of the problem. Instead, Malawian authorities should invite child psychologists and other medical therapists to provide evidence based management, and help bring the situation under control.

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Leo Igwe
Leo Igwehttps://www.maravipost.com
Leo Igwe (born July 26, 1970) is a Nigerian human rights advocate and humanist. Igwe is a former Western and Southern African representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and has specialized in campaigning against and documenting the impacts of child witchcraft accusations. He holds a Ph.D from the Bayreuth International School of African Studies at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, having earned a graduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Igwe's human rights advocacy has brought him into conflict with high-profile witchcraft believers, such as Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, because of his criticism of what he describes as their role in the violence and child abandonment that sometimes result from accusations of witchcraft. His human rights fieldwork has led to his arrest on several occasions in Nigeria. Igwe has held leadership roles in the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Atheist Alliance International, and the Center For Inquiry—Nigeria. In 2012, Igwe was appointed as a Research Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation, where he continues working toward the goal of responding to what he sees as the deleterious effects of superstition, advancing skepticism throughout Africa and around the world. In 2014, Igwe was chosen as a laureate of the International Academy of Humanism and in 2017 received the Distinguished Services to Humanism Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Igwe was raised in southeastern Nigeria, and describes his household as being strictly Catholic in the midst of a "highly superstitious community," according to an interview in the Gold Coast Bulletin.[1] At age twelve, Igwe entered the seminary, beginning to study for the Catholic priesthood, but later was confused by conflicting beliefs between Christian theology and the beliefs in witches and wizards that are "entrenched in Nigerian society."[1] After a period of research and internal conflict due to doubts about the "odd blend of tribalism and fundamentalist Christianity he believes is stunting African development," a 24-year-old Igwe resigned from the seminary and relocated to Ibadan, Nigeria
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