The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called for clinical trials of Madagascar’s Covid Organics, a herbal drink that is said to prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
“We are advising the government of Madagascar to take this product through a clinical trial and we are prepared to collaborate with them,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, told a joint media briefing with the WHO and World Economic Forum.
“We would caution and advise countries against adopting a product that has not been through clinical tests for safety and efficacy,” Moeti said.
“We are concerned about the impact that COVID-19 will have on the ability of African countries to progress towards Universal health coverage,” she added.
There are over 51,000 confirmed virus cases in the African continent, with more than 17,000 associated recoveries and 1,900 deaths, according to the WHO.
“We know that to stop the spread of this virus, key public health measures need to be in place in every community… even where cases have not been reported, readiness capacities should be prepositioned,” the WHO official said.
She added that WHO was “working with countries to leverage the assets they have in place already, built in preparedness for Ebola and HIV, TB and polio program among others, as well as to scale-up coordination, mobilize people and repair supply chains globally and locally.”
“It’s not a matter of simply today we have lockdowns and tomorrow everything is opened up. It has to be gradual with the most essential parts of the economy being opened up first,” Moeti said.
Several African countries have lifted the partial lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the virus, but the ban on gatherings is still in place.
While educational facilities remain closed in most African countries, businesses have been allowed to operate conditionally.
African governments say there is need to resume economic activities with imperative to contain the virus.
Moeti said they have guidelines from WHO on “progressively releasing these measures.”