“Do you plan to order Madagascar’s COVID-19 ‘cure’?” Health DG Dr. Amoth responds to Twitter user’s question

By Brian Okoth On Wed, 6 May, 2020 16:10 | 3 mins read
Acting Director General of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth. [PHOTO | FILE]
Acting Director General of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth. [PHOTO | FILE]

The Director General of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth, says Kenya is open to trying out possible coronavirus remedies so long as they are “based on safety and efficacy studies that are backed up by Science”.

Dr. Amoth made the remarks while responding to a Twitter user, who posed the question to him on his Wednesday’s “Ask the DG” Q&A Twitter session that he holds between 11am and 12 noon.

Cherper Dee, who goes by the Twitter handle @Davamorris1, posted: “Do you have plans of importing COVID organics from Madagascar?”

In response to Dee’s question, Dr. Amoth said: “We are considering all options based entirely on safety and efficacy studies, backed by scientific research.”

Madagascar, which has thus far recorded 151 COVID-19 cases, has registered an impressive tally of 99 recoveries and zero coronavirus-related deaths.

The nation’s president, Andry Rajoelina, attributes the high recovery rate to the COVID Organics (CVO), which was first produced in the country.

The CVO has been marketed in the form of herbal tea.

The president now says a new injectable solution of the same product is under clinical trials in Madagascar.

Andry Rajoelina said on Monday his government was already collaborating with foreign doctors and researchers on the matter, looking at alternative research possibilities but still on the trail of the Artemisia plant — the main component of CVO.

Countries such as Tanzania, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and DR-Congo have so far ordered for the CVO.

The Guinea-Bissau delegation that flew to Madagascar to take the consignment returned home with the products on May 3. Equatorial Guinea was the first country to receive the donation.

The DR-Congo also announced on Saturday that a consignment will soon be imported.

Tanzania’s President, John Pombe Magufuli, while speaking at an event last Sunday disclosed that the country will also make requests of the herbal cure to help in the fight against the pandemic.

“I have been in talks with Madagascar. They say they have discovered the medicine for COVID-19. We will send a plane to bring the medicine to Tanzania so that Tanzanians can benefit from it,” he said.

President Rajoelina has received praise from a number of his peers including presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal – all of whom he has held teleconferences with.

In the Wednesday Q&A session with Dr. Amoth, what came out also, was the concern about the accuracy of the COVID-19 testing kits after certain countries, including India, accused China of manufacturing and distributing faulty test kits.

India ordered from China more than half a million kits to boost its screening.

After receiving the test kits, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the top agency dealing with Coronavirus outbreak in India, said that the performance of the test kits received from China was not reliable and therefore, asked all states in India not to use the Chinese test kits anymore.

A similar concern was posed to Dr. Amoth by a Twitter user Jaguar Paw, who goes by the handle @Kibet_Kibetu. He asked: “How accurate are the testing kits from China? Is it true some kits come contaminated with the virus?”

In response to Kibetu, Dr. Amoth said: “All test kits used by @MoH_Kenya are validated by @WHO and further validated by @KEMRI_Kenya. This is a standard procedure regardless of country of origin of the kits. Strict quality assurance measures are in place in all testing labs in the country.”

The DG of Health was also asked to explain the rationale of opening hotel and restaurants for business, yet other income-generating ventures remain grounded.

Karanja Matindi (@braga_vance) said: “The government justified reopening of restaurants and eateries on the basis of the large number of people who rely on the sub-sector to earn a living. What is this approximate number?”

Dr. Amoth, in response, said: “The sector directly supports approximately 660, 000 and millions more indirectly.”

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