from MARIO RAJOMAZANDRY in Antananarivo, Madagascar
ANTANANARIVO – AS humanity reels from one of the deadliest infectious disease outbreaks in history, the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar has sparked a global phenomenon with a remedy hailed as a cure for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Covid-Organics, as the anticipated panacea to the pandemic is otherwise known, has emerged as one of the most divisive subjects in the fight against the scourge.
On one hand, it has brought hope to millions in the African continent, whose health systems are under severe threat from the outbreak, while on the other, it has set Madagascar on a collision course with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and health experts.
Conversely, the discovery of the ‘cure’ has reignited the debate that the West has a disdainful attitude towards traditional African medicine.
It has reopened a debate that is as old as humanity itself- that the West will never envisage anything good coming from the African continent.
Madagascar President, Andry Rajoelina, strong in his belief that his country is being denied its moment of glory, has been arguably the most vocal over the alleged disdainful attitude by the Western nations.
“I think the problem is that the drink comes from Africa,” the president told media.
“They (West) cannot admit that a country like Madagascar has come up with this formula to save the world.”
One of the youngest presidents in the African continent (aged 45 years), Rajoelina is resolute in the face of criticism by influential nations and organisations and insists his country would not be deterred by the qualms raised against Covid-Organics.
“No country or organisation will keep us from going forward,” the steadfast leader stated.
His latter statement is in response to the WHO over the use of the Madagascar remedy developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, and whose main ingredient is Artemisia, a plant cultivated in the country to curb malaria.
WHO has posited that the tonic has not been clinically tested, hence it has dissuaded people from using it.
“We would caution and advise countries against adopting a product that has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Africa Director, said.
The health agency stated, “Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world.”
Rajoelina has insisted the efficacy of Covid-Organics is in the progress his government has attained against the epidemic.
Statistics back his position.
At the time of going to press, Madagascar, a country of more than 27 million people, had 186 confirmed cases, 105 recoveries and no deaths.
The first cases, numbering three, were first confirmed on March 20. The cases, all women, were confirmed in the capital city, Antananarivo.
Some countries with lower cases have recorded deaths.
Skepticism by WHO and experts have not deterred African nations endorsing the Madagascan tonic lauded in some quarters as an African solution to African problems.
Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Tanzania have taken delivery of consignments of the potion.
African nationals have been heaping pressure on their governments to import Covid-Organics.
“This Madagascar Medicine must be our daily bread until lives are saved by traditional medicine. Government must order this medication as soon as possible. The good thing about it is even if it’s not working no lives will be lost,” South African, Khothipani Khusi, said.
South African Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, pledged that local scientists would assist fellow African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) fellow member, with research on the Covid-Organics.
“South Africa will only get involved in a scientific analysis of the herb,” Dr Mkhize stated.
Precious Obiera, analyst from Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, quipped, “How long will Africa depend on the West for survival?”
“How long will the black nations depend on the white for technological advancement? How long will the black depend on the white for good healthcare? How long will the black stop being inferior to the white?”
At the time of going to press, more than 4,3 million cases of COVID-19 and 293,000 deaths had been confirmed from COVID-19. There were 1,6 million recoveries.
– CAJ News