Hitherto, Africa relies on western countries for vaccines or medications. However, COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerability of every continent. The United States of America currently has the most infections and deaths from the virus. While many fear that the worst is yet to come in Africa, Madagascar claims it has a cure for the virus. At the time of writing this report, Madagascar has 230 cases, 108 recoveries, and no fatalities. Does this mean that Madagascar’s COVID-19 remedy is effective?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned repeatedly about the COVID-Organics infusion. However, it has not stopped Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina from promoting the homegrown COVID-19 remedy. Consequently, President Rajoelina criticized the WHO saying “African Scientists…should not be underestimated”. Lashing out on the WHO during an interview on a French media, the president said,
“If it wasn’t Madagascar, and if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so. I think the problem is that (the drink) comes from Africa and they can’t admit… that a country like Madagascar… has come up with this formula to save the world. No country or organization will keep us from going forward. The patients who were cured were cured through the administration of Covid-Organics alone.”
President Rajoelina claims Madagascar’s COVID-Organics infusion cures patients in 10 days. Already, the COVID-19 remedy from Madagascar has been delivered to several African countries. This includes Tanzania, Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria.
UPDATE: Tanzania receives a donation of Covid-19 'cure' from Madagascar. pic.twitter.com/WSpijAJyHY
— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) May 8, 2020
The WHO wants the scientific testing of the COVID-19 remedy
President Rajoelina’s claim that the WHO has failed to acknowledge the COVID-19 remedy because it is from Africa may not be entirely true. Part of the WHO’s guideline for the approval of any remedy is that it has to pass scientific trials. However, Rajoelina said the country was already conducting “clinical observations” according to WHO guidelines. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO African director is offering support in the “design of a study to look into this product”. Speaking in defense of the global health body Moeti said,
“We are not discouraging the product but we would like for it to be tried out. So when we are (making it broadly available), it’s based on some evidence. WHO has been working in the traditional medicine sector. We work very hard to facilitate collaboration and to incorporate traditional medicine into national health systems.”
Lots of debate has been trailing the COVID-19 remedy since its launch in April. However, the WHO said it will not endorse any product without substantive scientific study. Consequently, the WHO told BBC that it did not “recommend self-medication with any medicines as prevention or cure for COVID-19”.
The brain behind Madagascar’s Organics
Madagascar’s COVID-Organics was prepared by Malagasy Institute of Applied Research. The herbal remedy is a preparation from Artemisia plant. Artemisia is a popular anti-malaria compound. Inasmuch as President Rajoelina promotes it as a cure, the institute’s director-general, Charles Andrianjara said the COVID-19 remedy is preventative. In Madagascar, vulnerable people are getting the remedy for free. However, it is also sold commercially. The president said,
“This plant strengthens immunity and protects against numerous viruses and fever and especially lung diseases”.
President Rajoelina said the herbal COVID-19 remedy has healed over 100 patients. However, verifying this is difficult because hospitals don’t make their data public. The herbal remedy is yet to get the approval of the doctor’s union in the country. The president of Madagascar’s doctor’s unions, Abel Ranaivoson said,
“You shouldn’t mix COVID-Organics with other drugs if you want to know clearly the percentage of its effectiveness. For side effects after drinking the drink, there are people who have had allergies or even diarrhea and others who feel tired.”
Reactions trailing Madagascar’s COVID-19 Remedy
In Madagascar, many citizens believe in the efficacy of the COVID-Organics. The country distributes about 250 liters of the herbal tea daily. One of the people who gather in front of the town hall in the capital Antananarivo to receive the herbal tea was Robert. Speaking to Africanews, Robert who is a trader said,
“Thanks to this remedy, it is Madagascar that will save the whole world who thinks they are smarter, richer, and more knowledgeable than us. Madagascar will have the most knowledge in the fight against the coronavirus and the whole world will turn to us.”
Also, on social media, there is divided opinion on the herbal COVID-19 remedy. While some want the world to give it a try, others are concerned about the efficacy.
The herbal remedy from Madagascar has not been proven to cure the COVID-19 virus.
It's easy to say you have a cure, it's difficult to prove it.
There are steps to follow if you have a cure, don't just run to the media.
— Aproko Doctor (@aproko_doctor) May 8, 2020
One of Africa’s top vaccine experts has dismissed the so-called Madagascar ‘cure’ for Covid-19. “You could treat them with water and it would have the same effect.” With @aanuadeoye https://t.co/WAL2HTl6du
— Simon Allison (@simonallison) May 11, 2020
"I think the problem is that the cure comes from Africa and they can't admit that a country like Madagascar has come up with this formula to save the world. No country or organization will keep us from going forward." Pres. Andry Rajoelina. Madagascar have no deaths from COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/GMvQXM9Qsk
— Kentah Gwanjez (@GWANJEZ) May 12, 2020
Madagascar claims to have a herbal- based cure for Covid 19 &
Prof. Maurice Iwu of Nigeria has made a similar claim. Why is it that the @BillGates-controlled @WHO refuses to take Africans seriously even where some of these "cures" have yielded appreciable positive results?
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) May 9, 2020
As of the time of writing this report, Africa has over 75,000 cases with about 2,500 deaths and over 27,000 recoveries. Due to a shortage of testing kits, these figures may be a far cry from reality. Do you think the zero fatality in Madagascar is as a result of the herbal tea? We would love to hear your thoughts. Use the comment box below.