Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered his Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to accept a consignment of a herbal remedy from Madagascar.
The consignment of the herbal tea is part of a donation from the President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina who has touted the remedy as very effective in treating and preventing the virus.
The donation was meant for all countries in the West African sub-region and Guinea Bissau was expected to coordinate the distribution.
The chairman of the Buhari’s task force on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha told journalists on Monday that Nigeria’s allocation has been sent to Guinea-Bissau.
“I have received instructions from Mr President to make arrangements to freight it home with a clear instruction that I should subject it to the validation process, similar to what would happen to any other medicine or serum, or vaccine that is created internally,” he said.
Last week the ECOWAS Commission with its headquarters in Abuja said it did not order the Covid-Organics produced by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) from the Artemisia plant which has been used in malaria drugs.
The commission shied away from the drug saying in a statement that “We wish to disassociate ECOWAS and its health institution, West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), from this claim and inform the general public that we have not ordered the said CVO medication.”
“We are aware that several claims of COVID-19 cure have been made in different parts of the world, but we can only support and endorse products that are effective through scientific study,” the statement added.
Nigeria to analyse samples
Meanwhile Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said a sample of the herb will be sent for analysis before it can be considered for deployment.
“We understand that it is something called artemisia annua which also grows here. We’ll like to compare it with the strain here on whether they’re exactly identical and then see what properties it has.” He said.
The minister added that “Things like that are subjected to analysis to find out what works in there, how it works, and the use in getting a cure.
“Obviously, all countries in the world are interested in finding a cure and we’re not different, so we’re looking at all options and promises made to examine them.”
Despite criticisms from the World Health Organization which has warned that using traditional medicines that have not been tested and proven to be efficient scientifically can put the lives of people in danger, more countries in Africa are ordering it.