Nigeria seeks local remedy for COVID-19
By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya
China Daily

A woman poses for a picture with a protective face mask on, matching with her hat, following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lagos, Nigeria, May 13, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)

Nigeria's Ministry of Health has announced that the country is working on finding a local remedy for the treatment and cure of the coronavirus, even as the global efforts to find a cure or vaccine for the virus are ongoing.

Dr Olorunnimbe Momora, the minister of state for health, said the government had received a few proposals for local remedies for the disease, after which they were forwarded to the relevant agencies for evaluation.

Dr Mamora said last week, the Federal Ministry of Health's team held a virtual meeting with traditional, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, to discuss and explore opportunities for local solutions to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The meeting provided an opportunity for the practitioners to understand the procedures for validating medicines for use in the country," he said.

Dr Mamora assured the practitioners that the government would support all genuine efforts aimed at finding solutions to the pandemic.

He said the government is anxious to find a cure for the disease but would not compromise the health of any Nigerian to do trial and error.

"Whatever is approved for use in Nigeria must meet the required standard as determined by the relevant agencies," he said.

Dr Mamora said that at present, Nigeria has a total of 112 treatment and isolation centers in all the 36 states and federal capital territory, with 5,324 beds, while only five states including the federal capital territory have at least 300 beds as prescribed for isolation and treatment; 21 states have less than 100 bed spaces.

He said as the number of confirmed cases increases, there is an urgent need to expand their treatment centers across the country.

The minister therefore called on the state governors and philanthropists to take active and deliberate steps to scale up the number of beds for isolation and treatment of confirmed cases in their states.

Mamora said Nigeria is preparing to move into the next phase of the response, including the easing of the lockdown, having conducted a high level technical session on strategic outputs of mid-action review and identified priority activities for the next phase of the response.

He added that the government has commenced the development of sector-specific advisories on reopening, while training of health workers on case management is ongoing in more states.

Dr Mamora advised against crowding up as this increases the risk of transmission, noting that prevention is still the best approach to containing the virus

He said there is a general reduction in the mortality trend and continuous improvement in recoveries as shown in discharges compared to the increase in the number of confirmed cases.

Dr Mamora, however said he is not surprised about the increasing number of confirmed cases because very high cases could seriously exceed the capacity of the health system to cope.

As of May 29, Nigeria had recorded 8,915 cases, 259 deaths and 2,592 recoveries.

Meanwhile tests are ongoing on the efficacy of Madagascar's touted herbal cure for coronavirus.

The island nation has already sent the remedy known as Covid Organics to several African countries including Tanzania, Guinea Bissau, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Niger, Comoros and Liberia.

On May 12, World Health Organization held a virtual meeting with 70 traditional medicine experts from countries across Africa on the role of traditional medicine in the coronavirus response.

The experts unanimously agreed that clinical trials must be conducted for all medicines in the region, without exception.