AIDS, Malaria, Homeopathy & Southern Africa

I’ve been reading about the Maun Homeopathy Clinic in Botswana here. It is a depressingly dangerous combination of danger, delusion and humanitarianism.

It might be surprising to some to see me have a good word to say about homeopathists, especially when that word is humanitarianism but I honestly believe that these volunteers actually care about their patients – why else go out to Botswana for living expenses only when you can make a comfortable living off the worried well here in the UK?

They are still deluded though; their magic water and sugar pills do nothing for their patients. Their delusions are bad for their patients and may even endanger the homeopaths themselves.

The delusions seem to have their root in confirmation bias. There’s this for example. Volunteer homeopath Arun Mushiana says:-

“The homeopaths are so loved here, and at the clinic we see daily miracles.”

There then follows an anecdote about an un-named woman who allegedly recovered from malaria after being treated with homeopathic medicine. Now I’m no medic but I’ve heard of recurring malaria – where the disease periodically flares up and dies down. It is my suspicion that this patient was given the “medicine” when she was close to being at her worst and when her symptoms died down, the homeopath claimed the credit.

There’s also this which I reached by clicking on a link on the website of our old friends the Society of Homeopaths. It is claimed:-

“In some cases we clearly snatch people from the brink of death”

Again, this is confirmation bias – AIDS sufferers symptoms vary from day to day.

It is admitted that when a patient gets too ill (when s/he really is seriously ill) only antiretrovirals can help but even here the homeopath misses the point that if the ARVs are administered early enough after infection then the onset of full-blown AIDS can be delayed – sometimes for years. Even if they are not administered until the symptoms of AIDS have appeared, they will keep the patient alive and in some approximation of health.

Because the clinic’s patients are not given ARVs until they are seriously ill, they will die and this is where the homeopaths healing fantasies will turn against them. They claim to be miracle workers so what will the families of the dead assume?

Because there is such a stigma about HIV/AIDS in southern Africa many will not admit that a family member is a sufferer. Often they will insist that the patient has been poisoned. When the patient dies after taking the strange foreign potions they may assume fatal poisoning.

He who lives by confirmation bias may die by confirmation bias.

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23 Responses to “AIDS, Malaria, Homeopathy & Southern Africa”

  1. Elizabeth Flynn Says:

    What do you know about homoeopathy? what qualifies you to make any of the statements above?

  2. jaycueaitch Says:

    I know enough about homeopathy to know it doesn’t work. I know enough about Southern Africa to know that the AIDS crisis is being made worse by people peddling worthless cures.

    To which statements in particular are you objecting and what are your objections?

  3. Dr. Pawan S. Chandak Says:

    Homoeopathy is developed practically & scientifically in India. In India you can find all about Homoeopathy.
    So you cant make such silly statement that it doesn’t work. Homoeopathy is having very important role in HIV AIDS.

  4. jaycueaitch Says:

    Supply some evidence that it works.

  5. Sarah Says:

    You’ve got something wrong.
    The anti retro-viral drugs are made available by the government of Botswana. Presumably they have their own criteria that dictates when the expensive drugs are given. Going to the homeopathy clinic makes no difference as to when a patient receives the drugs. The project works alongside the very overstretched conventional medical resources. If you read the website properly you’ll see lots of positive comments about the use of the drugs in treating HIV, and the role that homeopathy can play in relieving symptoms both of the condition and in side effects from the drugs.

  6. jaycueaitch Says:

    I also see nonsense such as claims that homeopathy snatched someone “from the brink of death”. And there is no evidence that homeopathic sugar pills work any better than placebo sugar pills when it comes to relieving symptoms.

  7. Dr. Nancy Malik Says:

    Homeopathy cures where Convenntional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) fails

  8. jaycueaitch Says:

    Please give proof of a case of non self-limiting illness being cured by homeopathy. Please supply sufficient references for checking. And since you claim homeopathy works where “allopathy” fails, let’s make it a case conventional doctors have declared incurable.

  9. Dr. Nancy Malik Says:

    There are number of diseases which are labeled as ‘surgical’, where homoeopathy works curatively and can avoid surgery except where tissue changes have occurred, or where there are congenital abnormalities. Some such ailments where surgery could be avoided are: Tonsillitis, Piles, Fissure, Fistula, Appendicitis (except gangrenous), ear discharge, Vocal cord nodules, Polyp in nose-ear, Kidney & ureter (small) stones, Uterine Fibroid (small), Ovarian Cysts, Warts, Corns, etc.

  10. jaycueaitch Says:

    So give us an example, with references.

  11. AIDS, The Evidence And The Vitamin Salesman « Letting Off Steam Says:

    […] and charlatans. Even without Government denialism, ignrance allows quackery to roam free. As I have mentioned before, homeopaths are acting out their healing fantasies in […]

  12. simone Says:

    I am a homeopaths I have a few cases where homeopathic remedies had done away with polyps for children who were suffereing from sleeping disturbance due to the blockage of brreathing. I have at lease six of these.

    Prevention of Hernia operation where the hernia was very painful to a musician who prepared for an audition – he played the trombone and this gave him the hernia now for the second time. He had an emergency operation perscrivbed in two days time, but he did not have to do it after a few doses of the remedy, the pain had gone situation setttled.

    I have a cancer (desmoid) patient who had his third operation on his right arm and also radiation. now the cancer has cropped up in his palm – now for two years he is my patient. the doctors proposed to cut his palm off. two years ago he listened to the doctors now his sarcoma is decreasing slowly and he experiences less and less pain.

    Three of my colleague patients were cured of apendicitis.

  13. jaycueaitch Says:

    Some evidence please.

  14. alexandre gideon Says:

    WAKE UP PEOPLE.What evidence are you looking for.Have you ever been to southeren africa to witness all the danger you are talking about.I presume the answer is no.I live in Maun and i am a medical scientist.Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine whose lagitimacy is no puzzle to be explained to a self proclaimed anti-civilization frreak like you.If you want to learn more about homeopathy,GO TO SCHOOL,

    • jaycueaitch Says:

      Yes I have been to Southern Africa. My wife is a Black South African & I’ve spent time in the township.

      Your abuse speaks volumes about homeopaths and their unwilingness to engage with the evidence

  15. alexandre gideon Says:

    And by the way,there are many homeopathy schools in the UK.Visit one and learn more about what you call a sugar pill.please there is no point in criticizing what you do not understand.if those volunteers have been to school for 4 years and they have learn t how to treat disease using water,whats exactly is wrong with that,i mean if at all it helps someone at the end of the day who are you to discredit one good deed when all you are capable of is to sit down in the comfort of your chair and tell the world a tale about a place you have never seen.Botswana is a very prosperous truly democratic African state which has never received a penny from any colonial master.she was never colonized.The ARV program me is rolled out by the government.its not under any European foundation.Its the first African country to do that and health service is still free here even to this day.if you want evidence on whats going on,come and get it.do not try to mislead the world with your half cooked story.HANDS OFF THE DIAMOND COUNTRY.
    homeopathy is a scientifically proven system.If you want to discredit it give us your scientific part of the argument and i shall be happy to give you free lessons on what you failed to lean at school.

  16. jaycueaitch Says:

    Umm. Botswana has been colonised. Used to be called Bechuanaland when it was a protectorate of the British Empire. I would have thought anyone living there, as you claim to do, would know that.

    As for “HANDS OFF THE DIAMOND COUNTRY”. I don’t have my hands on it. I’m not trying to sell them anything.

    Your tirade of abuse suggests a major unwillingness to engage with evidence. Why are homeopaths always so angry?

  17. Natuurtherapeut Says:

    Homeopathy is not all about the medicine they give but foremost about the homeopathic consultation, where the patient can tell his story, so things become clear to the person, so they can work on their problems. People should always seek regular help for severe diseases.

    Daan van der Meulen, Natuurtherapeut, Holland.

  18. stefan ottenheijm Says:

    Why put so much energy in argumenting? it only polarises. If someone, like you Jay, proclaimes he knows enough about homeopathy and asks for “scientific evidence” he is in contradiction. Evidence as you name it is defined bij medical scientists to investigate conventional therapies. Homeopathy is different. I am a conventional trained medical doctor and am now in classical homeopathy-class. I am amazed by the level of scientific standards of homeopathy.
    To measure homeopathy by conventional standards would be the same as trying to find a bacteria by using viral detection-tests. You will not find it that way. If you sit back, relax and redefine again what health is about you might create a broader view for yourself. I hope you are able and willing to do so.
    Every class of therapists has its clowns and sharlatans. Even your almost holy declared western “scientific” conventional medicine. I live that reality day by day.
    Open discussion between openminded and critical minds can create an even more human approach to health and finally happines, i believe

    • Anon Says:

      You’re a douchebag and you know it. You live a delusion day by day, a dangerous one.

      • jaycueaitch Says:

        Why don’t you explain where you think I’m wrong rather than posting anonymous abuse? Or is that the limit of your ability?

  19. Deflectig Criticism 2 – Ad Hom Attacks « Letting Off Steam Says:

    […] trying to do down critics is to accuse them of being unqualified and/or ignorant. Elizabeth Flynn says that I am unqualified when I took exception to homeopaths peddling their wares as cures for AIDS and malaria in southern […]

  20. Deflecting Criticism 2 – Ad Hom Attacks « Letting Off Steam Says:

    […] trying to do down critics is to accuse them of being unqualified and/or ignorant. Elizabeth Flynn says that I am unqualified when I took exception to homeopaths peddling their wares as cures for AIDS and malaria in southern […]

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