Madagascar has reportedly sent its COVID-19 herbal remedy to Nigeria and other African countries.
The herbal medicine known as COVID Organics (COV) is reported to be effective against coronavirus.
Nigeria’s consignment has been sent to Equatorial Guinea from where it will be airlifted to Abuja.
For ease of transportation, African countries were divided into zones leading to the freighting of Nigeria’s consignments to Equatorial Guinea.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 positive tally moved to 4,399 last night with 248 new cases announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Lagos recorded 81 cases, followed by Jigawa State 35 and Borno 26 cases to top the chart. Kano recorded 26 cases, followed by Bauchi with 20 cases.
There is pressure on the Federal Government by different medical and scientific organizations to allow the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to subject the drug to further analysis.
Some others are pushing for clinical trial of Covid Organics before being used in the country.
The Federal Government was yet to take a position as at the weekend because the AU has mandated its Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to review the scientific data gathered so far on the safety and efficacy of the COVID Organics.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week insisted that the efficacy of the drug was unproven.
Also, as part of steps to contain COVID-19, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has started negotiating with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) on how to source volunteer doctors and health workers.
The health workers will help to assist ravaged states in the North-West and North-East especially, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno states.
The Chairman of NGF, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is coordinating the talks with the two professional associations with juicy welfare package.
According to a source, who spoke in confidence, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has been notified of the offer from Madagascar and arrangements were being made to bring Nigeria’s allocation to Abuja.
The source said: “The consignments of the drug are being distributed to different countries in Africa based on zonal grouping. We have been told that Nigeria’s consignment is in Equatorial Guinea from where it will be airlifted to Abuja.
“When the herbal drink is brought into the country, we will know the next step. But some medical and scientific organisations are pressurising that the drug be subjected to clinical trial.
“Some countries like Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea have subscribed to the drugs. Also, while South Africa has offered to conduct a scientific analysis of the drug, Senegal said it will subject it to clinical trial.
“I can assure you that the Federal Government will take the best decision on the drug in the overall interest of Nigerians.
“Before any food or drug can be administered in this country, there are certain protocols that must be followed. The government will not circumvent these protocols. We want solution; we want the best for Nigerians.”
On April 28, the Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha said the nation was ready to give Madagascar’s herbal drink a trial.
He said: “I want to assure you that whatever is happening in the world, we are mindful of it and we are keeping a tab.
“I was reading of the experiences in Madagascar– of why everybody is drinking some solutions that have been prepared.
This morning I was sharing with my wife, and I told her that probably I would request that Mr. President allow us import a plane load for a trial.
“We are all navigating an unchartered cause. Nobody has ever been on this road.
So, every attempt to find solution that would bring succour to our people, be rest assured that this task force is very responsible and we would do everything to ensure that we get what will benefit our people, what will help them in the processes that we find ourselves today.”
On the talks with the NMA and NANNM, Dr. Fayemi said: “We have started negotiations on how to secure the services of volunteer health workers to help contain COVID-19 challenges in the North-West and in the North-East.
“The reality is that many states in these zones have problem of manpower, we need more volunteer health workers to assist them. We know we can draw these volunteers from the private healthcare sector without hurting the Public Health Sector.
“We are ready to offer the volunteers good welfare package, including robust incentives and adequate security. Our ultimate goal is to avert trouble in the affected states; this is why we are pooling resources together.”