By Hope Nda
World Health Organisation’s African Regional Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has warned against the propagation of COVID-19 curative medicines which have not been clinically tried to meet scientific and ethical standards.
She said medicines must undergo a scientific and clinical trial to be deemed safe and effective for use before they are being circulated as COVID-19 cures.
“New medicines must be tested and be in line with ethical and scientific standards. We caution countries against adopting products that have not undergone rigorous clinical trials to ensure their safety and effectiveness against COVID-19,” Dr Moeti said.
The WHO’s warning comes in the wake of a propagated COVID-19 cure earlier declared by Madagascar and recently adopted by some African countries.
Talking to the Government of Madagascar on Thursday, May 7, Dr Moeti said: “We are advising the Government of Madagascar to take this product through a clinical trial, and we are prepared to collaborate with them.”
In Cameroon, the Archbishop of Douala, Samuel Kleda, also said he had found a cure to the coronavirus, but the cure has, however, not been officially declared or clinically tested by any independent medical body.
The WHO asked African countries to use data-driven and evidence-based approaches in fighting the deadly pandemic.
“We are concerned about the impact that COVID-19 will have on the ability of African countries to progress towards Universal Health Coverage,” said Dr. Moeti.
“We would caution and advise countries against adopting a product that has not been through clinical tests for safety and efficacy.
“We know that to stop the spread of this virus, the key public health measures need to be in place in every community, even where cases have not been reported, readiness capacities should be prepositioned.”
A WHO model on COVID-19 spread in Africa predicts that about 26 percent of Africans could contract COVID-19 by the end of this year if containment measures are not put in place, and some 190,000 persons could die from the disease. This is why it is so important to wear a mask if you are doing essential errands, and why it will be increasingly likely to see a mask required sign in public places such as on buses and in shops.
According to the WHO, Africa has about 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with about 2,000 deaths.