We must examine the myth of Traditional Medicine as we learn Chemistry, Biology and Physics from Primary schools to the University level. Africans are the only ones that still see Traditional Medicine as Fetish, Voodoo and Mystical. Other continents examine their Traditional or Natural Medicine not only in their countries but explore Africa to discover more. Africa must demystify and expose the mystery for facts and hypothesize about what works in reality.
Take aspirin, quinine and chloroquine as few examples of African Traditional Medicine. These were indigenous to Africa but studied, pasteurized with dosages outside Africa! We had very intelligent and capable scientists that could have done as much. The first time this writer and his classmates made Aspirin in the school chemistry laboratory, it was so exhilarating, just like making a million!
Madagascar asked and South Africa has expressed willingness to assist with the scientific analysis of COVID Organics (CVO), the herbal drink that went viral; to prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. This has prompted other African countries to look inwards since they cannot find the cure in overseas markets, even if they have all the money. Unfortunately, it takes the lack of readymade cures for African leaders to realize all their loots cannot buy Covid-19 cure overseas.
Remdesivir is the latest experimental drug on focus claimed to be very promising because limited study demonstrated it prolonged the life of patients by 15 days compared to 11 days on placebo. Normally, that is not statistically significant. But if there is nothing better, you hang on to what you’ve got. The limited amount available for patients in the United States cannot meet the demand for trials. Doctors have to play God on decisions to determine who gets it.
Before then, it was Hydroxychloroquine. The fact that some people got cured on it, however little it has worked for most, made them swear by its efficacy. These experimental drugs for Covid-19 are:
The only sure bet right now is Prevention as Physical Distancing, avoiding densely packed areas with masks if need be. More important, immersion (covered) in the hot steam of green boilings of herbs at the slightest symptoms of any flu. Since the World Health Organization has not endorsed any cure in or outside Africa; yet.
All we need to do is check the bottles of the multivitamins we import from overseas. They are all made up of greens or wild bush “agbo” our parents gave us as children. The same ones we boil, immersed ourselves in with bed cover and breath in to cure a cold, catarrh, flu and other ailments. Why are we buying foreigners’ multivitamins made from the same bush nutrients available in African countries but ignored our traditional medicine, Agbo?
In that case what was preventing this writer and others from flooding African markets with local vitamins? The market has to open for local products and services to flourish. Many African countries have enough problems chasing fake drugs and bringing their makers in for prosecution. Africans hardly trust our brands, even the discovery of fake empty capsules imported from overseas have been discouraging. On top of these are the complex issues that African drugs are not pasteurized, without dosage and can be toxic to the kidney, liver or both.
Unfortunately, we spend so much effort, waste knowledge, resources and manpower exploring the traditional medicine of other continents being tested in their laboratories than we do with ours. It must be added that there is nothing wrong with studying or replicating the world experiment, but there is total ignorance in rejecting our own.
Issac Asimov, the science fiction writer of robots, space and alien fiction at one point encouraged the development of robotics, space and star wars scientists of today. These were not different from flying saucers, magic carpets or flying witches. Children and youths were exposed to them as games before they became space scientists. In Africa, these were called Voodoo players and condemned by most without exploration.
Two high school girls in Nigeria are worldly recognized for their discovery of walnuts as the disinfectant for mouth odour. Indeed, most African countries have various chewing sticks for deodorizing mouth odour. The point must be made that what other continents practice every day as Traditional Medicine has been turned to science experiments in schools.
Right now, we get more exposure to Traditional Medicine in Nollyhood or Ghallybood movies from Nigeria, Ghana to South Africa by dramatic exaggeration than from a clean scientific demonstration. In these popular movies, the biased diabolic and fetish views are reinforced.
There are schools of Health Sciences and Health Technologies training Nurses and Physician Assistants. There is no reasonable reason why they are not taught Natural or Traditional Medicine. Indeed some countries started the certification and regulations of some Traditional Medicine men and women in rural areas willing to take some training. In another case, children of Medicine Men were recruited after high school into the School of Health Technology for Community Health Officer training (Physician Assistants).
Nevertheless, African countries must offer their best medicine and compete equally with other countries looking for cures and vaccines against exotic diseases. If a little country like Cuba can supply highly trained medical workers, African countries could. Indeed, Nigeria until recently used to post medical, legal and military experts and missionaries to many countries in Africa and the world. What changed?