Sequel to the decision of the federal government to airlift consignment of the Madagascar herbal cure from Equatorial Guinea, for the treatment of Nigerians with COVID-19, concerned stakeholders including the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP), Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories, among other have kicked against the decision, describing it as a shameful and distasteful act.
They expressed their disappointment in the government’s insensitive action to the people’s call for the use of locally made herbals for the treatment of patients with the condition, saying Nigeria has some of the best scientists (Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biochemical, Biological etc.) in the world who have done so much work on natural and herbal medicines.
The PSN President, Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, in a press release sent to Pharmanewsonline said the Society received the news with utter disbelief as the nation is greater than Madagascar in all ramifications with about 174 Universities (43 federal, 52 state and 79 private), 20 faculties of Pharmacy and about 69 federal-funded research institutes (including National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development and the National Institute for Medical Research) while Madagascar has only 6 universities, 1 faculty of Pharmacy and 9 research centres!
The number-one pharmacist in the country said Nigeria has developed a pharmacopeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna – potent sources of phytomedicines. “Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, a number of them have raised their voices that they have herbal and natural products that can be used to treat or manage COVID-19. Some have patents. Many herbal companies and producers have announced specifically that they have herbal formulations that can do what this ‘invention’ from Madagascar can do”, he emphasized.
He continued: “We have raised our voices severally that the federal government should review these claims and help put them through clinical evaluation as most of these producers cannot afford to conduct clinical trials. We have recommended that a portion of the nearly 25 Billion Naira donated/allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic should be dedicated for local research and development. But our government has remained essentially silent only waiting to participate in WHO sponsored or mandated trials. We have been told that Nigeria is participating in the WHO solidarity trial, but nothing on trying our own inventions and formulations.
“Now we want to import COVID Organics from Madagascar to try? Why are we like this? If the world can supply us synthetic and chemically-sophisticated medicines which we apparently lack the technology to produce, why must we wait for the world to supply us herbal formulations which we can easily make and which we have similar products”, he argued.
The PSN President therefore called on government to save Nigerian pharmaceutical scientists and other scientists from the shame of having the country import and try herbal remedies which God has given the nation in abundance and some of which our grandfathers and grandmothers have used for ages. “Let us try our own local formulations before we try COVID Organics or any other imported remedy. Every well-meaning nation has been in a race to find cures, remedies and other medical supplies used for COVID-19, while we seem to wait for other nations to solve our problems”, he quipped.
The President, National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP) Prof. T.O. Omon, was also of the same view with the PSN President, saying Madagascar is a very small country with not more than 20 million population, that will dictate the pace of herbal medicine practice to Nigeria of about 200 million population.
Omon, in an exclusive chat with Pharmanewsonline said “We have told federal government that Madagascar is a small country of not more than 20 million, and they cannot be telling us in Nigeria with population of 200 million the way forward in traditional herbal medicine practice. But if they are the ones the government want to listen to on herbal practice, it is not the best.
He said since the novel Coronavirus is a global pandemic, God wants every nation to look inward and develop its own cure for the infection, rather than looking outward for a solution, when there are several herbal options to test for the best result.
“COVID-19 is a disease that God wants every country to look inward to local herbs to save their people, since there is no option of foreign medical trips, and it is not a time to go for foreign medical trips. If Nigeria can come out of the quagmire of sheepishly using other peoples’ invention by discovering our own local herbal cure for the infection, we will become a healthy country that can make significant contribution to the healthcare development of its populace”.
As a mini-trial method for any Nigerian herbal medicine with the claim of curing the infection, Prof. Omon urged the government to use such side by side Madagascar herbal drug for the treatment of patients, saying if the local formulation proves more effective than the imported Madagascar product, then further importation will be unnecessary.
“We can’t compare one thing except they are two. So when Madagascar cure is here, Nigeria government should use it side by side Nigerian local preparation, and if they see that our won is more effective, that there is no need importing any herbal drug again”, he said.
Rev. Father Anselm Adodo, founder of Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories, has also decried the government’s action, saying there is a disconnect with the Nigerian government and the peoples ’desire, as everyone, even in the Ewu village is unhappy with the decision.
The Ewu Monk, who spoke with Pharmanerwsonline in an exclusive chat said “We need to identify what is wrong with this government, so that it can be rectified in due time”.
The natural medicine practitioner narrated how people have amusingly told him to take his herbal medicine to Ghana for treatment of COVID-19 patients, perhaps the Nigerian government can order for it from there.