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Ghana ‘rejects’ Madagascar’s Covid-19 remedy, says no evidence of efficacy

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Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Africa Feeds Staff writers are group of African journalists focused on reporting news about the continent and the rest of the world.

Ghanaian officials have said Madagascar’s touted Covid-19 herbal remedy would not be allowed onto the country’s market for use just yet.

The country says there is no evidence just yet of the efficacy of the herbal tonic touted as capable of preventing and treating Covid-19.

Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) which has the sole mandate to approve the drug to be put on the local market said it would not do so until “the efficacy of the drug is proven”.

On local news outlet Citi TV, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana’s Food and Drug Authority (FDA) Mimi Delese Darko said “Yes, we’ve read about it (the herbal drug) but what we also look out for is evidence so you cannot just put a drug or a herbal product on the market without evidence and say it treats a disease.”

“So far as we’ve seen, it was tested in about 20 people over three weeks and come out with the claim of cure. There is no published study and what we would say is that we will need more evidence,” Darko said.

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Meanwhile at a press briefing on Thursday, Ghana’s health service officials said Madagascar offered Ghana just like other ECOWAS countries consignments of the herbal cure.

But Director of Public Health at the Ghana Helth Service Dr Badu Sarkodie told journalists that “I believe that a quantity might be made available to the country and we will ensure collaboration with FDA. They (FDA) have to do some assessment and then we take it from there.”

“So, I will not be able to say whether it will be used or not. But I think they have made an offer and we can take a look at it,” he noted.

Product from herbs

Madagascar had said the remedy called Covid-Organics was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (Imra).

The herbal remedy was produced from artemisia plant, an ingredient used in a malaria treatment and other Malagasy plants.

Several African countries have taken delivery of the tonic already with Madagascar’s President, Andry Rajoelina urging farmers in his country to grow more of the artemisia plant.

artemisia plant
Photo: LianeM/ britannica

The African Union has said that it is in discussion with the Republic of Madagascar, over its herbal remedy for the coronavirus.

The AU says it wants to obtain “technical data regarding the safety and efficiency of a herbal remedy” which was recently announced by Madagascar and touted to be effective in preventing and treating COVID19.

This week the World Health Organization also warned that using traditional medicines that have not been tested and proven to be efficient scientifically can put the lives of people in danger.

WHO warns of danger

In a statement the WHO said “Medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua are being considered as possible treatments for COVID-19 and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects.”

“The use of products to treat COVID-19, which have not been robustly investigated can put people in danger, giving a false sense of security and distracting them from hand washing and physical distancing which are cardinal in COVID-19 prevention, and may also increase self-medication and the risk to patient safety,” the statement said.

The WHO said it is also “working with research institutions to select traditional medicine products which can be investigated for clinical efficacy and safety for COVID-19 treatment.

In addition, the Organization will continue to support countries as they explore the role of traditional health practitioners in prevention, control, and early detection of the virus as well as case referral to health facilities.”

Covid-Organics from Madagascar
Covid-Organics parked headed for Equatorial Guinea

There are still no vaccines for treatment of coronavirus but various countries are adopting various drugs to treat patients.

Many of the drugs currently being used are anti-Malarial, anti-ebola and anti-HIV/AIDS drugs that also work effectively in dealing with Coronavirus.


WHO worried about community spread of covid-19 in West Africa



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