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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Herbal remedies: WHO expecting trial results from Nigeria, 11 others


• Third wave stabilising in Africa, says UN agency

The World Health Organisation (WHO), as part of COVID-19 response in Africa, is expecting the trial results of traditional medicine therapies from 12 countries, including Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and South Africa.

It, therefore, encouraged governments to create an enabling environment to facilitate collaboration between research institutes, practitioners, private organisations and other stakeholders in the trado-medicinal sector to ramp up local capacities to develop traditional medicines.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated these in a statement during this year’s African Traditional Medicine Day.

She said: “We celebrate African Traditional Medicine Day to promote the important role of the continent’s rich biodiversity of medicinal plants and herbs in improving well-being. For generations, the vast majority of people across the continent have relied on traditional medicine as the main source of their health care needs, as it is trusted, acceptable, affordable and accessible.

“Now, as part of the COVID-19 response, promising traditional medicine therapies are emerging. In Cameroon for example, the Ministry of Health has approved two products as complementary therapies for COVID-19. Madagascar’s herbal remedy, COVID-Organics Plus Curative, is in phase III trials and encouraging preliminary results have been reported.

“We look forward to the final results of this trial, and of trials underway for different products in 12 other African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa. With the support of national and district authorities, traditional health practitioners are also leading the charge in building buy-in for COVID-19 prevention measures and referring patients for timely care. This is contributing to strengthening and building confidence in health systems throughout Africa.

“At the highest levels, the pandemic has improved awareness of the value of traditional medicine. Investing more in research and development will contribute to harnessing homegrown solutions to improve well-being on the continent, and in other parts of the world. Natural remedies are burgeoning in popularity in western countries and have a long history in China, India and other places.”

This is coming as the WHO yesterday indicated that in Africa, the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has started to stabilise, although the number of new cases are still very high with almost 248,000 reported in the past week.

It, therefore, urged countries to increase their vaccination drive to get their citizens vaccinated, as more vaccine supplies are getting into the continent.

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