The Republic of Madagascar has given Nigeria and other African countries its herbal medicine-COVID Organics (COV).
The medicine is for prevention and treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Nigeria’s consignment has been sent to Equatorial Guinea from where it will be airlifted to Abuja.
For ease of transport, African countries have been divided into zones leading to freighting of consignments from Nigeria to Equatorial Guinea.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 positive count rose to 4,399 last night, with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) reporting 248 new cases.
Lagos reported 81 cases, followed by state 35 in Jigawa and 26 cases in Borno to top the list. Kano reported 26 cases and Bauchi followed with 20 cases.
There is pressure from various medical and scientific organizations on the Federal Government to allow the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and the National Agency for the Administration and Control of Food and Drugs (NAFDAC) to further examine the drug.
Some others are pushing Covid Organics for clinical trial before being used in the region.
Since the AU has ordered its Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to study the scientific data collected so far on the protection and efficacy of COVID Organics, the Federal Government has yet to take a position as of the weekend.
Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) said the drug’s effectiveness was unproven.
In addition, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has started discussions with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) on how to procure volunteer doctors and health workers as part of COVID-19 containment steps.
In the North-West and North-East, in particular, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno counties, the health workers will continue to support the devastated nations.
NGF chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi is organizing the talks with the juicy healthcare package of the two technical associations.
According to a source, who spoke in confidence, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 was informed of Madagascar ‘s offer and preparations were being made to transfer the allocation of Nigeria to Abuja.
The source said: “Based on zonal classification, the drug consignments are being shipped to different countries in Africa. We have been told the consignment from Nigeria is in Equatorial Guinea from where it will be airlifted to Abuja.
“When you bring the herbal drink into the country, we’ll know the next step. But some medical and research organizations are calling for clinical trials to be carried out on the drug.
“Some countries have subscribed to the medicines, including Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Furthermore, although South Africa has agreed to perform a scientific drug study, Senegal has indicated that it will be subject to clinical trial.
“I can assure you that, in the general interest of Nigerians, the Federal Government will take the best decision on the drug.
“There are certain protocols which must be followed before any food or medication can be administered in this country. Such protocols should not be circumvented by Government. We want solution; we want the best for Nigerians.”
On April 28, the Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha said the nation was ready to give Madagascar’s herbal drink a trial.He said: “I want to assure you that whatever is happening in the world, we are mindful of it and we are keeping a tab.
“I was reading of the experiences in Madagascar– of why everybody is drinking some solutions that have been prepared. This morning I was sharing with my wife, and I told her that probably I would request that Mr. President allow us import a plane load for a trial.
“We are all navigating an unchartered cause. Nobody has ever been on this road. So, every attempt to find solution that would bring succour to our people, be rest assured that this task force is very responsible and we would do everything to ensure that we get what will benefit our people, what will help them in the processes that we find ourselves today.”
On the talks with the NMA and NANNM, Dr. Fayemi said: “We have started negotiations on how to secure the services of volunteer health workers to help contain COVID-19 challenges in the North-West and in the North-East.
“The fact is that many states in these areas have workforce issues, and we need more volunteer health workers to support them. We know that we can attract these volunteers from the private health sector without undermining the public health system.
“We are ready to give good welfare package to the volunteers including robust benefits and adequate protection. Our main aim is to prevent conflict in the affected states; this is why we pool resources together.