A member of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect says it is an offence for any of their members to receive medical treatment.
Dorcas Mhere (47), the senior wife of Clever Maveto, said they have been using holy water, salt and cooking oil to cure all her children when they fall ill since the early 1980s.
The Maveto family, from Bikita District in Masvingo Province, is accused of burying children in a mass grave after they allegedly succumbed to measles.
Reports claimed Maveto (67), a polygamist, buried his children, aged one, three and four years – as well as a 10-month-old toddler – under the cover of darkness after they allegedly succumbed to measles-related complications last month.
Maveto has, however, refuted the allegations saying he is prepared to let anyone exhume the bodies to see for themselves that there were no mass graves at his homestead.
Meanwhile, Mhere told H-Metro that she has never been to a hospital and depends on prayers and help from prophets. She said:
It is not allowed for one to seek medical attention. You just pray for whatever illness you’re facing or consult the prophet for help.
We only use holy water, cooking oil and salt, depending on the prophet’s instructions.
When a child is born, we perform a ritual to protect the baby from measles.
For other ailments, like a running stomach, we use fresh milk and Coca-Cola, to cleanse the body.
Alice Chiyambiro, Mhere’s sister, said they also use a mixture of lemons, cooking oil and warm water for healing infants with fontanelle problems (nhova).