Africa Leads In Low Covid-19 Cases By Early Treatment Not Myth

Farouk Martins Aresa

Farouk Martins Aresa

African countries are certainly doing more than preventive medicine to ward off the predicted numbers of death from the devastating effects of Covid-19. It is not a fluke, luck or by accident but by herbal and proactive Primary Care. While it is true that Covid-19 could have produced more deaths in Africa than anywhere else, it does not bode well to think those grim predictions came as a result of bad faith. Indeed, most of them wish Africa well hoping the worst scenario would never happen. But plans must be put in place if it happened, not just wishful prayers of God forbid bad thing.
Africans were brought up with our grandmother’s herbs by immersion in boiled drinks. They are our Vitamins C, D, E, B complex, Zinc and B12 that became expensive hot items in high demand at the pharmacy stores all over the world. During the early stages of diseases, the white blood cells we learned about in high schools kill invading bacteria and viruses. The Sore Throat relief by salt water, Cough with honey and ginger, aspirin/codeine available over the counter but not more than 30 mg every 4 hours or ask pharmacists.
Rubbing our body down with oils to ward off the breathlessness of cold or flu. Aspirin, Tynelol, tiger or atomic balm are some of the most common over-the-counter drugs used to treat minor pain from headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, and menstrual cramps. Oral rehydration for Diarrhea relief by mixing one liter of water with half a teaspoon of salt and 6 teaspoons of sugar.
Africa leads because familiar Early Preventions work against Covid-19. Though Madagascar Covid-19 treatment Artemisa was unproven, it was effective against other symptoms: “reduced cough frequency with the maximum dose tested, producing an effect equivalent to that produced by the centrally acting cough suppressant, dihydrocodeine,”
Our problem in Africa Traditional Medicine is generalized treatment for every ailment because it works for some. It becomes difficult to credit African efforts to contain Covid-19. But to call it a myth because African countries are leading or doing better, lacks appreciation for the efforts of those working hard at prevention and treatment at the earliest stage.
Headache, dry cough, sore throat relieved by coconut oil or other symptoms like body ache, fatigue, loss of taste or smell are dealt with immediately by hot lime drink, body rub massage. Africans do not allow them to germinate into serious disease that may turn out to be Covid-19.
If there is anything we learned from Ebola, it is a strong Community Action. Call it Contact Tracing, door to door or old fashioned home grassroots workers from health clinics and centers. Prevention of deadly consequences has been avoided again by vigilance against this new Covid-19 virus. The fact that rich advanced countries suffered more than poor countries in Africa only points to complacency when they know what to do for prevention.
We must always note that there is no better hospital anywhere outside your house. When every drug and medical procedure fail, our home is the most comfortable place to die. It is sad but the reality of life. Most of our preventable ailments can be avoided within our houses saving us from getting admitted into the best hospital anywhere. If you live in any of the African countries with very modest means, that is most of us, you cannot afford a good hospital in your country not to mention travelling out to hospitals abroad.
Even South Africa with the highest cases in Africa, has been able to contain the COVID-19 virus better than most advanced countries. It has little to do with their good hospitals but more with our African Traditional Medicine warding off each of the symptoms that are similar to past flu and more important, the well-placed fear that Covid-19 could wipe out our population. Some researchers want to credit Herd Immunity because of the crowding in Africa. They forgot the death toll in Brazil and even in Sweden with that type of hypothesis. It boils down to demography selection and how many of that population you are willing to sacrifice to gain herd immunity later.
The hypothesis of warm weather fails since other tropical South America countries and crowded countries like India have high cases. Another hypothesis is that Africans have a higher young population that has better immune systems. While it is true that older age succumbed at a higher rate, especially those above 80 years old or in Nursing Homes, only the wealthy in Africa that could afford treatment anywhere have succumbed, leaving the poor in the same category unexposed, free. Even their househelps exposed to travellers (disease) are cautious. This is the beneficial evidence of preventive measures and taking proactive treatment against known symptoms from the past experience. 
Africans have some treatments for every symptom of Covid-19. Most of us have become hypochondriacs watching out for any symptom and applying home remedy as they manifest their fangs at our well-being. We all know that reliance on exotic treatment many times may result in false hope. They have more to do with later stages of the disease that have been allowed to set in. We must take precautions and not ignore early symptoms. Youths and older adults may think they are not vulnerable. Youths couldn’t care less because they think they are not invisible and have stronger immune systems. The wealthy adults think they can buy their way out of sickness with exotic treatment.
One of the most serious health issues is the inability to breathe. Your doctor at the nearest clinic or hospital must be contacted. By the time we experience shortness of breath, lack of oxygen in our lungs result in blood clots in the blood vessels leading to other parts of the body. Before we get to the hospital where reduced oxygenation is indicated, Africans have many home remedies. Aboniki balm: a combination of menthol, Camphor and Eucalyptus leaves steamed and inhaled, restores breathing. You can also cover yourself on steamed herbs prepared by grandmothers. 
There are Guava leaves, loaded with vitamins C, Iron with antiviral properties for lung disease. Zinc in lozenges, Jute leaves soup, Ewedu, Mulukhiyah, or Molokhia boost the immune system.  Other symptoms that may or may not be Covid-19 related but with African experience with Ebola, our guards are up. Fever is the immune system working to defend you from the invading virus. The virus hardly survives at higher temperatures. Get aerated, take Tylenol and wrap in wet cloth. Lemongrass is also antipyretic for fever.  
Countries that suffered and brought down mortalities are experiencing resurgence now when they defy preventive measures. African countries are still vulnerable as well-meaning community health experts predicted, if we neglect our local prevention in herbal remedies.
Old steroid like Dexamethasone may prevent worse stages in the hospital patients during Cytokine Storms, but it may also be late. These are the complications that have been avoided in African countries at the earliest stage. The use of experimental drugs like Favipiravir and Remdesivir, as virus killers, aspirin and heparin as blood thinners, steroids for stabilization  and intubation at later stages to force oxygen from the lungs to every part of the body are too expensive in Africa. When the rich countries realized how less effective ventilators were despite discriminative use, they started shipping them to developing countries for sale! 
Africa’s lead is not mythical. The hard work and resourceful efforts of our medical workers, community health workers and Traditional Medicine must be credited. It is up to African scientists to channel and exemplify their knowledge before their efforts could be recognized and not denied worldwide. If it works in Africa, some of their scientists will explore them here and claim credit as they did for antibiotics, aspirin etc. Though IMHOTEP practiced medicine and taught 2,200 years before Hippocrates was born, they call him Father of Modern Medicine.

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