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Information Minister clarifies report on Madagascar herbal medicine

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Kojo Oppong Nkrumah – Minister of Information

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, says, the report about Ghana having received Madagascar’s “COVID-Organics” – the herbal medicine, which the Island country in the Indian Ocean, claims to cure the novel coronavirus, is incorrect.

He said, it was also not the case that Ghana had made a request to the Island country for the supply of its much publicized herbal cure.

“I just want to be clear, the reports that Ghana has requested for or that we have received and we are testing a cure from Madagascar is incorrect.”

“What we have said is that they have reached out to us as they have done, to many other countries. What we will do is that we will test it.”

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah provided the clarification at a media briefing on the management of the respiratory illness, held in Accra.

The Ministry of Information was reported in the media to have announced on the official Twitter page of the Ministry, referring to the Minister as the source of the information, that the country had received “COVID-Organics”.

The report added that, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), through the Centre for Plant Medicine, had begun testing the medicine to confirm its efficacy.

COVID-Organics is produced from Artemisia, a plant with proven effective for malaria treatment, but the country’s President, Andry Rajoelina, endorsed the medicine as the ‘cure’ for COVID-19 when he launched it last month – bringing global spotlight on the herbal mixture.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, however, advised against using untested remedies – medicines for which there has not been any scientific trial to establish their efficacy and safety.

The African Union (AU) said early this month that it was in discussion with Madagascar to obtain technical data on the safety and efficiency of the herbal remedy.

The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadi, convened a meeting with the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Republic of Madagascar, Eric Randrianantoandro, on 30th April on the matter, the Union said in a statement.

The statement added that, it was agreed that Madagascar would furnish the AU with the necessary details regarding the herbal remedy.

“Once furnished with the details, the Union, through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), will review the scientific data gathered so far on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 Organics.

“This review will be based on global technical and ethical norms to garner the necessary scientific evidence regarding the performance of the tonic”, it said.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah underlined the need to start a national conversation on how to live safely with the pathogen in the global ecosystem.

This comes as more countries across the world take steps to relax restrictions imposed to contain and stop the spread of the virus – return to normal.

The Minister encouraged the media to lead “living with the virus” conversation.

Source: GNA

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