JUBA – The government of South Sudan said on Tuesday that it was planning to import a drug discovered by Madagascar believed to be a cure for novel coronavirus which has killed over half a million people around the world and has infected over 3 million people.
The country’s High-Level taskforce on coronavirus said it recommended during a meeting on Tuesday chaired by first vice president Riek Machar who is also the deputy chairperson of the taskforce to President Salva Kiir to communicate to his Madagascan counterpart President Andry Rajoelina to avail the herbal tonic to South Sudan.
African countries like Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville, and Guinea-Bissau have started importing the herbal tonic from Madagascar. The tonic is made from the Artemisia plant – the source of an ingredient that is used in the treatment of malaria.
President Rajoelina has been promoting the herbal tonic, saying it will “change the course of history”.
According to media reports, the Covid-organics will be distributed free of charge to African countries and it will be sold at very low prices to others.
The tonic was developed by a private research institute that has been investing in researching the uses of Madagascar’s traditional medicines.
“The Taskforce commended and appreciated the support offered by the government of Madagascar and they recommended to the President to communicate to his counterpart in Madagascar so that they can avail the same support to South Sudan,” said Dr. Richard Lako the Director-General at the Ministry of Health.
However, the World Health Organization has repeatedly cautioned against self-medication and said in a statement that it did not recommend any scientifically unproved medicines for treating COVID-19.
It said Africans deserve access to medicines that have gone through proper trials even if they are derived from traditional treatments.
The UN health agency says it has already launched a “solidarity” international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19.
South Sudan so far recorded 58 cases, two recoveries, and no deaths.