Could herbal treatment be the answer to the deadly coronavirus? The government of Zimbabwe believes so. In recent years, the treatments and remedies used in traditional African medicine have gained popularity among scientific researchers.
In Zimbabwe, the government has allowed herbalists to treat coronavirus patients. However, medical experts have urged the government to stick to WHO guidelines on how to contain the virus.
Zimbabwe’s health ministry delivered a letter to the head of the country’s main COVID-19 treatment center in Harare on Monday, asking him to consider bringing in an herbalist, who claims to have a cure for the virus, according to a VOA report.
Zimbabwe Traditional Practitioners Association president Tribert Chishanyu is pleased that the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is allowing herbalists to treat coronavirus positive Zimbabweans.
“The practice of traditional medicine is older… than science and it is accepted by the majority of Zimbabweans,” Chishanyu said, adding that “if modern scientists have the opportunity to try whenever there is a emergency disease (epidemic), why can’t we do the same with the practice of traditional medicine? We are treating the symptoms of COVID-19, so with (some) luck we may be able to treat COVID-19. “
According to him, traditional healers consult “spiritual mediums” in the hope of finding new COVID-19 treatments.
On the other hand, Dr Nyika Mahachi, president of the Zimbabwe College of Public Health Physicians, told VOA via WhatsApp that the coronavirus is still evolving and its mortality is quite high.
“We cannot take a risk with traditional medicine which is not proven,” he added. “Even of the regular drugs that we have, none of them have been shown to be effective in treating or curing COVID-19. It is therefore an undesirable development. I hope this is not a real endorsement, that something has gone wrong somewhere, and the department is addressing it urgently. “
As the world struggles to contain the deadly, rapidly spreading coronavirus, Zimbabwe’s defense minister believes pandemic is God’s ‘punishment’ on the United States and the West for imposing sanctions on regime members in power. At the time, the country had not yet registered any cases, but now 10 people have tested positive in Zimbabwe and one has died.
“The use of herbs may derail gains from the 21-day nationwide lockdown,” said Fortune Nyamande, president of the Zimbabwe Association of Physicians for Human Rights, also said.
“We would like to emphasize that those who are going to use this approach (herbs) must know how to use personal protective equipment because they can end up being affected by the virus and they can end up being agents of transmission to the wider communities”, said declared Nyamande. “Overall, we say this needs to be treated with caution. We also advocate for science-based, evidence-based interventions that have been proven elsewhere. “
In March, doctors and nurses at public hospitals across the country went on strike over a lack of personal protective equipment to allow them to safely treat patients suspected of coronavirus.