Tag Archives: Madagascar

Madagascar prison break: 20 killed.

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Twenty inmates were killed in a shootout with police during a prison breakout in Madagascar on Sunday, the justice ministry said.

Scores of prisoners attacked guards with rocks and grabbed a gun as they tried to flee the Farafangana prison in the southeast of the Indian Ocean island, it said.

The police and army moved in, capturing 37 of the 88 escapees, while another 20 were killed and eight wounded in a shootout.

Thirty-one inmates are still on the run, the ministry said, vowing to boost security at all penitentiaries across the country.

Mass prison escapes are not uncommon in Madagascar. In 2016, around 40 detainees broke out from a high-security prison in Toliary in southern Madagascar.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: AfDB approves $138m for Madagascar, others

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $138 million as COVID-19 response support for Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe.

According to the AfDB in a tweet on its official handle, the money will help finance the national actions of the four countries in combating the impact of the pandemic.

“African Development Fund approves $138 million COVID-19 response support for Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe,” the agency said.

“The package will help finance the national actions of the four countries in mitigating the impact of the pandemic.”

Tweet link

“Under the package, known as the Multi-Country COVID-19 Response Support Program (MCRSP), Malawi will receive a concessional loan of UA17.87 million and a grant of UA15.03 million; Madagascar, a concessional loan of UA30 million; Mozambique, a combined grant of UA30 million; and São Tomé & Príncipe, a grant of UA7.5 million,” the AfDB explained in a blog post on its website.

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“The programme is financed through African Development Fund resources, the concessional window targeting low income countries, and was made possible by the robust backing of Bank shareholders to its 15th replenishment, which came into effect this month.”

Dr Josephine Ngure, Bank Acting Director General for Southern Africa was quoted as saying on the AfDB’s website that “We are delighted with the approval of this crucial cash injection to support the COVID response plans in Madagascar.

“Mozambique, Malawi and Sao Tome. During this unprecedented challenge, it is essential that Governments in the region act in a coordinated manner to protect the most vulnerable in society and set the foundation for a speedy post-pandemic recovery.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Madagascar hospitals ‘full’ despite herbal drink

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Hospital officials in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo say they are struggling to cope with a rush of coronavirus patients despite the distribution of a herbal drink touted as a remedy by the president.

President Andry Rajoelina has been promoting an infusion derived from artemisia — a plant with proven anti-malarial properties — as a homegrown cure for COVID-19.

He has brushed off warnings by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there are no published scientific studies of the drink — which has been called Covid-Organics — and that its effects have not been tested.

But COVID-designated hospitals in Antananarivo warn they are starting to run out of beds.

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“We are now only accepting severe cases,” Andohotapenaka Hospital director Nasolotsiry Raveloson told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) on Tuesday.

“The number of cases is increasing more and more,” he explained. “We now have 46 severe cases and so we only have four spaces left.”

At Joseph Raseta Befelatanana Hospital, director Mamy Randria said the facility was “overwhelmed”.

“It is impossible to free up spaces for the moment,” he said.

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The head of Anosiala University Hospital, Rado Razafimahatratra echoed the concerns, noting that the facility was “constantly overwhelmed”.

To date the Indian Ocean island-nation of Madagascar has recorded 7,548 coronavirus cases, including just 65 deaths.

Infections have spiked over recent days, however, raising concern in a country where three-quarters of the population live on less than $1.90 per day, according to the World Bank.

“Two factors have contributed to the spread of this disease,” said health department official Zely Arivelo Andriamanantany on local television.

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“Firstly… people took CVO (Covid-Organics) and then didn’t respect social distancing. Secondly, CVO only guarantees protection for two to three weeks,” he said.

The government, meanwhile, has blamed the rise in cases on “increased testing capacity”.

“Positive COVID-19 cases did not take CVO or only took it sporadically, without following the prescribed dosage,” said official documents sent to AFP on Tuesday.

“Almost systematically, within the same family unit, those who result positive were not drinking CVO — or at least not regularly — while those who tested negative were taking the solution (and) remained negative despite living together without necessarily social distancing.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Madagascar imposes fresh lockdown – shehu sani react

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Shehu Sani, a former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District at the Senate, has questioned the efficacy of the COVID-19 Organics as Madagascar has imposed a fresh lockdown due to the rise in cases of COVID-19.

Recall with Noble Reporters Media that the country on Sunday imposed a fresh lockdown on its capital, Antananarivo following a new surge in coronavirus cases.

This is coming two months after restrictions were eased in Madagascar.

“The re-imposition of lockdown by the Madagascan Government in the capital city as a result of surge in infection raises questions on the efficacy of their remedy.

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“However, it’s right to revert to measures that would contain the second wave of the spread,” Shehu Sani tweeted.

Shehu Sani

Madagascar had sent the herbal drink to Nigeria and other African countries to help combat the virus and President Muhammadu Buhari received the concoction which had since been placed under test.

Just last week, the Nigerian government said the herbal remedy will be subjected to further research despite being proven to be a cure for only malaria.


#Newsworthy…

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€170K: We don’t know Madagascar’s anti-COVID-19 drug would be so cost – FG, PTF.


Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic, Boss Mustapha, has said he was not aware of any cost paid for the Madagascar herbal mixture.

Mustapha was responding to a question on reports that Nigeria had been asked to pay €170,000 for the Madagascar herbal mixture delivered to President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday by the visiting President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

He said he had taken delivery of the solution sent to Nigeria as well as other African countries by Madagascar without request without any invoice.

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“In terms of the question of whether it comes with a cost. It was handed to me without an invoice so I assume it doesn’t come with a cost.

“That’s my assumption. For that, I think the Madagascar issue and the Chinese issue should be laid to rest.

Also Read;

WHO has offered us $20M to posion Anti-COVID-19 drink – Madagascar’s president.

“I think we have said repeatedly hear that we did not ask for the Madagascar consignment, it was given by the government of Madagascar to African countries as their contribution to wanting to find solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have repeatedly said our consignment and those of West African countries, was dropped off at Guinea Bissau and that we were making arrangements to go and airlift it.

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“As God would have it, the President of Guinea Bissau decided to visit our President last Saturday and when he was coming, he came with our consignment of five cartons and those five cartons were delivered to me yesterday in the evening, sealed, without a bottle out of it.

“I’m going to engage the Minister of Health who has the responsibility of validation, through his institutions that are chartered by law to do that.

“The President was upfront with that even when he took delivery of it from the President of Guinea Bissau.

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“He said it quite clear of what we are going to do with the consignment would be guided by science, under the processes of validation, we’ll now know where to go”, he said.

The SGF, however charged Nigerians to learn what he described as the biggest lesson the COVID-19 pandemic had foisted on humanity, which he said was the fact that it had exposed the weaknesses in all systems of the world, even of the so-called superpowers.

He noted that it would be a mistake for Nigerians to desire to go back to their old ways, saying “if we do not learn anything from COVID-19 and build institutions that will be enduring and sustainable, we would have failed the next generation.

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“Life after COVID-19 will not be our normal type of life again. COVID-19 has come and it has disrupted everything you know as normal and the benefit of that distraction is that we will begin to put on our thinking cap and begin to address issues differently because it has exposed the weaknesses in all systems.

“It’s not only the Nigeria system that has been exposed, even the big countries with very big economies, COVID-19 has exposed every gap in their systems; their system of health, their social safety nets, their governance issues have all been disrupted and I can assure you that after COVID-19, at the individual level, at the community level, at the state level, at the national level, we will begin to do things differently. It cannot be business as usual again,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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Madagascar demand €170K for Anti-COVID-19 drug. [Nigeria]


Contrary to wide impressions, Madagascar is not playing Father Christmas with its COVID-Organics herbal drink.

According to reports, the island nation has asked Nigeria to pay 170,000 Euros for the consignment delivered by Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

Embalo, who visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja on Saturday, brought the drugs allocated to Nigeria.

President Buhari said Nigeria would take the drug through intensive test to determine its suitability.

The Nation reported that an invoice was delivered along with the drug.

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” Madagascar has asked Nigeria to pay over €170,000 (N78, 200,000). We have received the invoice because the African country has made us to realise that the drugs are not being given out free”, The Nation quoted a source as saying.

Meanwhile, Madagascar has registered its first coronavirus death.

It was a 57-year-old medical worker who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, the national COVID-19 taskforce said on Sunday.

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Taskforce spokeswoman Hanta Danielle Vololontiana said in a televised statement that the man died on Saturday night.

“A man died from COVID-19 in Madagascar … he is 57 years old and a member of the medical staff,” she said.


#Newsworthy

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WHO has offered us $20M to posion Anti-COVID-19 drink – Madagascar’s president.


President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina has claimed that the World Health organisation, WHO, offered his country the sum of $20m as bribe to poison COVID-19 cure, according Tanzania Perspective.

The President went on to insist that the herbal remedy called ‘COVID Organics’ made from Artemisia can cure COVID-19 patients within ten days.

Also appearing on France 24 News, Rajoelina said that the only reason the rest of the world had refused to take the herbal cure seriously and with respect was that it came from Africa.

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“I think the problem is that (the drink) comes from Africa and they can’t admit… that a country like Madagascar… has come up with this formula to save the world.

“If it wasn’t Madagascar, and if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so,” Rajoelina said.

“What is the problem with Covid-Organics, really? He asked. Wondering if it could be that this product comes from Africa,” he added.

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The President also wondered if it was not alright for a country like Madagascar, which is the 63rd poorest country in the world, to have come up with something that can help save the world.

He noted that if it was not Madagascar, but an European country that had actually discovered the Covid organic, there would not be so much doubt.

President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina

#Newsworthy…

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Shocker: Presidency receives Madagascar’s Anti-COVID-19 drug. [Nigeria]


President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday received samples of the Madagascar herbal drug which the African country claimed could cure COVID-19.

The drug was delivered to Buhari by President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau at the State House, Abuja.

Disclosing this in a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, said Buhari however said he would listen to science before allowing traditional or any new medicines to be administered on Nigerians.

“At an audience meeting with President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau who brought along with him the samples of the traditional medicine as shared to African nations by Madagascar, President Buhari said his position on all such herbal or traditional medicinal postulates had remained the same.

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“We have our institutions, systems and processes in the country. Any such formulations should be sent to them for verification. I will not put it to use without the endorsement of our institutions,” said the Nigerian President.

More details shortly…


#Newsworthy…

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Expert reveal why Nigeria need to avoid Madagascar’s Anti-COVID-19 drug

…We must try our own formulations first, PSN insists
. .PDP seeks adoption of local remedies
.. We are in a hurry to get the homegrown cure, says FG

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Medical experts in the country, including pharmacists, nurses and laboratory scientists, have opposed the plan by the Federal Government to import a herbal tonic, COVID-Organics (CVO), from Madagascar for the treatment of coronavirus patients in Nigeria.

Pharmacists under the aegis of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and other health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) provided reasonsNigeria should not import the herbal tonic from Madagascar.

JOHESU is the umbrella body of all health workers in Nigeria, excluding medical doctors.The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on Monday during the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, said Nigeria was expected to receive samples of COVID-Organics, the herbal medicine used by Madagascar to treat COVID-19 patients.

Mustapha, who doubles as the chairman of the task force, however, said that the herbal medicine would go through standard validation process before it could be considered for use in Nigeria.

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But in a reaction yesterday, PSN rejected the plan to import the herbal tonic from Madagascar, describing it as “thoroughly disgraceful.”President of PSN, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said the plan became disgraceful because:
•Nigeria has about 174 universities (43 federal, 52 state and 79 private); 20 faculties of pharmacy and about 69 Federal Government-funded research institutes, including National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja and the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR),Yaba, Lagos while Madagascar has only six universities, one faculty of pharmacy and nine research centres.
• Nigeria has some of the best scientists (pharmaceutical, medical, biochemical, biological, among others) in the world who have done so much work on natural and herbal medicines.
•Nigeria has developed a pharmacopeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna–potent sources of phytomedicines.
•Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, a number of them have raised their voices that they have herbal and natural products that can be used to treat or manage COVID-19. Some have patents. Many herbal companies and producers have announced specifically that they have herbal formulations that can do what this ‘invention’ from Madagascar does.

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Ohuabunwa said: “The PSN has received the news that the Federal Government of Nigeria is about to import a herbal concoction called COVID Organics (CVO) from Madagascar with utter disbelief. While in principle we would not mind Nigerian government importing any new drug that is proven to cure COVID-19 or indeed any other disease for which we have neither the capacity, nor the technology to produce locally, we are totally appalled that Nigeria is about to spend scarce foreign exchange to ‘import coal into Newcastle’. Even if we are not going to pay for this, it is thoroughly disgraceful that a country that should be the leader of Africa, with the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will allow itself to be dragged this low.”

The PSN boss recalled that pharmacists had raised their voices severally that the Federal Government should review these claims by local experts and help put their inventions through clinical evaluation, as most of them could not afford to conduct clinical trials.

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According to him, pharmacists have recommended that a portion of the nearly N25 billion donated/allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic should be dedicated for local research and development, but the government has remained essentially silent, only waiting to participate in the World Health Organisation (WHO)-sponsored or mandated trials.

“We have been told that Nigeria is participating in the WHO solidarity trial, but nothing on trying our own inventions and formulations.” Ohuabunwa added: “Now we want to import COVID Organics from Madagascar to try? Why are we like this? If the world can supply us synthetic and chemically sophisticated medicines which we apparently lack the technology to produce, why must we wait for the world to supply us herbal formulations which we can easily make because we have similar products?

“We urge our government to save Nigerian pharmaceutical scientists and other scientists from the shame of having our country import and try herbal remedies which God has given us in abundance and some of which our grandfathers and grandmothers have used for ages. Let us try our own local formulations before we try COVID Organics or any other imported remedy. Every well-meaning nation has been in a race to find cures, remedies and other medical supplies used for COVID-19, while we seem to wait for other nations to solve our problems. There is much talk but little action.

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“This dependency mentality needs to change and now is the time. We must seize this opportunity to look inwards, build confidence in our abilities and competences, and re-orientate our national economic philosophy from import dependency to export driven. Nigeria can beat India and China in the production and export of herbal products if anyone is willing to lead us down this part.”

A traditionalist and Chief Executive Officer, Olaking International Holistic Medicine, Dr. Qazeem Olawale, lauded government’s search for solution in herbal medicine, but said the move was in a wrong direction.

The microbiologist, who had challenged the Federal Government in the past to bring COVID-19 patients to him for treatment, said herbal medicine had proven its worth in the healthcare sector.

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“It will be a great stride in the fight against Covid-19 to have a cure proven to treat and manage coronavirus. It is also a good development that the government is heeding our long-standing call for integrative medicine approach in the fight against the virus.

“It is, however, sad that government does not have sufficient belief in the traditional medicine practitioners who are learned and professionals in their practice. It embitters that we embrace a solution from Madagascar even though we have everything it takes to develop and produce locally made herbs that will aid in the fight against Covid-19. Long before Covid Organics came, we pleaded with the Federal Government to recognize the traditional medicine in the fight against Covid-19. We are giants of Africa and we should be the one leading in innovative and integrative ways of attending to problems like this. No matter how efficacious, a vital principle of natural medicine is that no cure is as efficient for a group of people than a cure developed from their own locality.

“This is simply because we have more than what is required to cure this disease in no time. It’s high time we embraced our indigenous herbs, otherwise, we would not be helping ourselves healthwise and economy wise,” he said. He urged the government to call on traditional and alternative medicine practitioners to come forth to defend their claims.

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The Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Bio Joy Josiah, told The Guardian: “Ordinarily, one will wonder why the Federal Government will start with a Madagascan herbal tonic. It is better to make further enquiries on this matter for informed decision-making.

“We have an emergency on our hands right now. Naturally, people want anything that brings a remedy at reasonable cost. Our attitude should be to allow any remedy that has successfully passed through due process of the scientific evaluations/protocol at National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to be used at this time. So, whether it is a Somalian, Chadian or Nigerien tonic would not really matter as long as it brings relief without adverse reactions or other negative consequences to a consumer.”

On whether he would recommend herbal remedies for COVID-19, Josiah said: “Our pharmacists give the impression that all drugs are basically of natural origin. We are a nation blessed with trees, leaves, barks, roots and so on, so it will be delightful to witness the use of herbal preparations in the health system.

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“In the last few weeks, I have read claims of all sorts including those of a former acting vice chancellor of a first generation university and accomplished pharmacist who all insinuate that they have herbal remedies for COVID-19. I will volunteer to be the foremost promoter and marketer for any such product provided that there is scientific validation and endorsement from NAFDAC, which is statutorily mandated to carry out such functions.”

On Prof. Maurice Iwu’s claim, the JOHESU chairman said: “It is still in the same realm as the last insight I provided. Prof. Iwu’s claim was one of those I referred to earlier. Iwu is an internationally acclaimed researcher, so he is more familiar with this terrain than I am. Science is about facts and not magic like some will like to relegate it to become.

“It is on this note that I am encouraging all researchers in herbal medicine to subject their formulations to clinical trials for eventual registration for use.”

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Besides, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) berated President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly abandoning the development of homegrown remedies only to seek a solution from Madagascar even when Nigeria brims with curative resources against ailments such as COVID-19.

The party said that “while it had nothing against any genuine effort to secure therapeutics for COVID-19, such solutions as developed by Madagascar abound in Nigeria but had remained untapped because of the failure of the Buhari administration to heed wise counsel to look inwards for answers.”

The PDP lamented that the government jettisoned its advice “to acknowledge our indigenous potential and mobilize homegrown solutions, given our abundant curative flora, globally recognized healing traditions as well as experienced researchers and experts in various institutions across our country, but to no avail.”

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The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said: “Instead, the Buhari Presidency and its inept Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 sat on our national potential to wait for foreign solutions, while other African leaders are busy looking inwards for remedies.

“It is indeed despicable and shameful that instead of leading other African countries for solutions, as the Giant of Africa, President Buhari’s incompetent, lethargic, indolent and aimless administration is going to Madagascar to purchase remedies that abound in our country.”

Meanwhile, the Federal government has said it is in a hurry to obtain a homegrown cure for the coronavirus disease just like other countries of the world and assured indigenous researchers who have developed any potential drug for Covid-19 that they will receive appropriate certification if found fit for human consumption.

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mustapha, who stated this at the daily update on COVID-19 in Abuja, observed that since the recording of the index case, Nigerians had clamoured for research into a homegrown solution to COVID-19.

He noted that “some countries are trying to abridge the processes of trials to shorten the time as we are not expecting any vaccine to be on the shelve until towards the end of 2021 for industries that have perfected the processes of manufacturing the vaccine.”

Mustapha, therefore, appealed to researchers to be patient and subject their drugs to regulatory processes so that if they were found fit for human consumption, they would receive appropriate certification

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He said: “I listened to one of the drug manufacturers in US saying that they will provide the world with billions of vaccine by the end of 2021. We are in 2020 and this is the time Covid-19 is ravaging the entire world, but we are not in a hurry to release those drugs. So my appeal to our homegrown researchers is to be patient and go through regulatory process so that if their drugs are found fit for human consumption, they will receive appropriate certification.

“The processes of examining, trials and validation of drugs are staggered in different stages and take a very long time. Government will not like to end up in a situation the country found itself in the past with a polio vaccine by one of the manufacturers becoming a subject of litigation. The PTF, as part of its mandate, has continued to promote research and wishes to repeat its appeal to all our researchers to go through the validation process so as to enable humanity to benefit from their hard work and they in turn benefit from the intellectual property rights associated with such research.”

The SGF called on corporate citizens and public-spirited individuals to invest in the rural health infrastructure to enable the country to contain the community spread of coronavirus.

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Mustapha observed that given the impact of the COVID-19 on global economy and national income, it had become obvious that government alone could not bear this burden as the situation requires a great deal of investment in strengthening the primary health care system, the manpower and the infrastructure.

“As we continue to learn the lessons from COVID-19 by fortifying our health systems and infrastructure against present and future pandemics, I wish to remind Nigerians that there is still a lot to be done and investment to make. The PTF mentioned at the briefing on Monday 11th May 2020 that it had commenced focus on community ownership, guidance, acceptance and implementation in the control of COVID-19.”

The SGF warned Nigerians against the use of recycled surgical face masks picked from dump sites, saying they were not only hazardous to the user but also to other people.

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Mustapha who also spoke against the sharing of masks noted that such actions could lead to the risks of contracting the coronavirus. He urged Nigerians to always dispose properly of their surgical masks or at best burn them.

The PTF Coordinator, Dr.Sani Aliyu stated that any medication coming into the country, whether herbal cure or concoction, must be subjected to regulatory processes, adding that the Madagascar cure being expected into the country would be subjected to a lot of processes within the legal framework to ascertain its safety and efficacy before it could be administered to the people.

The Minister of Health, Dr.Osagie Ehanire urged the organs of state to maintain vigilant at the borders.According to him, the Federal Ministry of Health has been closely monitoring and reviewing the unfolding situation in some states, where Covid-19 appears to have gained ground and has responded to the situation in Kano by dispatching a team of medical experts to provide technical support to the state ministry of health.

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He said: “I am happy to inform that the team has done well in their assignment and has reported a lot of success in helping to stabilize the state’s health system and assuage the disquiet among health workers who are to restart routine service delivery. No new infection of health workers has been reported in recent times, as those who have recovered are awaiting certification to resume work.

“A FMoH delegation of experts is presently in Bauchi State on a fact-finding mission to work with the state government and look into reports of unexplained deaths in Azare. The similar missions to Katsina and Jigawa identified needs in those states, which include a molecular laboratory in Katsina, to reduce the backlog of pending tests and the turn-around time for results. This will be looked into. Other high burden areas or states grappling epidemic control issues will be offered similar support.”

He commended the ongoing initiative being developed by the Governors’ Forum to give each other mutual support by rallying available human resource for health volunteers from some states, to support other states with high burden and manpower shortages.

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Ehanire said government would continue to ramp up COVID19 testing capacity “by adding three new molecular laboratories to our network at Benin City and two in Port Harcourt, which will bring the present total to 25. An expert advisory committee will assist with an audit of our laboratory processes with a view to offering suggestions on strategies to reduce testing turn-around time and other user interest matters.

The minister also said that the number of isolation centres and beds nationwide was increasing with the Thisday Dome commissioned in Abuja and providing the most comprehensive panel of medical services for COVID-19, including lab testing ICU, and dialysis.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Nigerian govt approves Madagascar’s anti-coronavirus drink.

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COVID-19: Buhari approves airlifting of Madagascar’s anti-coronavirus drink to Nigeria


Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the airlifting of the country’s allocation of the Madagascar anti-coronavirus drink.

“Mr President has given instructions for the airlifting of Nigeria’s allocation of the Madagascar #Covid19 Syrup,” Boss Mustapha, secretary to the federal government said at the COVID19 daily press briefing.

Mustapha disclosed that the president also gave “clear instructions that it must be subjected to the standard validation process for pharmaceuticals; there will be no exceptions for this.”

“Where there are differing Strategies is in the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions. But as far as the (Health) Response is concerned, there is only one National Response,” Mustapha said.

The herbal mixture is a drink derived from artemisia – a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment – and other indigenous herbs.

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In April, Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina launched the remedy at a news conference, drinking from a sleekly-branded bottle filled with an amber liquid which he said had already cured two people.

Madagascar has since been giving away thousands of bottles of the product, developed by the state-run Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, to countries across Africa.

World Health Organization (WHO), however, said the drink’s efficacy is unproven and warned against “adopting a product that has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy”.

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Isolated compounds extracted from artemisia are effective in malaria drugs WHO noted but said the plant itself cannot treat malaria.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also said the drink should be “tested rigorously”.

Health specialists are worried that people who drink the product might feel they are immune to COVID-19 and engage in risky behaviour, WHO’s Africa head Matshidiso Moeti said.

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“We are concerned that touting this product as a preventive measure might then make people feel safe,” she said.

While the global health body is yet to approve the usage of the drink to treat coronavirus patients, many African countries like Nigeria are trusting the drink produced by Madagascar.

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Presidency: Madagascar’s anti-covid-19 drink shunned because it’s from Africa.


Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina drinks a sample of the “Covid Organics” or CVO remedy at a launch ceremony in Antananarivo on April 20, 2020. “Covid Organics” or CVO is a remedy produced by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) created from the Artemisia plant and supposedly help to prevent any infection caused by the new coronavirus Covid-19.

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina on Monday batted away criticism for promoting a homegrown “remedy” for COVID-19, charging that the West has a condescending attitude toward traditional African medicine.

“If it wasn’t Madagascar, and if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so,” he told French media in an interview.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly warned that the Covid-Organics infusion, which Rajoelina has touted as a remedy against the deadly coronavirus, has not been clinically tested.

The drink is derived from artemisia — a plant with proven anti-malarial properties — and other indigenous herbs.

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“African scientists… should not be underestimated,” he told France 24 and Radio France International (RFI).

“I think the problem is that (the drink) comes from Africa and they can’t admit… that a country like Madagascar… has come up with this formula to save the world,” said Rajoelina, who claims the infusion cures patients within 10 days.

Already Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Tanzania have taken delivery of consignments of the potion, which was launched last month.

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“No country or organisation will keep us from going forward,” Rajoelina said in response to the WHO’s concerns.

He said proof of the tonic’s efficacy was in “the healing of our sick”.

Madagascar has officially reported 183 coronavirus infections and 105 recoveries, with no deaths.

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“The patients who were cured were cured through the administration of Covid-Organics alone,” the president said.

He referred to the remedy as “an improved traditional medicine”, adding that Madagascar was not conducting clinical trials but “clinical observations” in accordance with WHO guidelines.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Madagascar launch Herbal medicine


Despite a warning by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there is currently no cure for COVID-19, the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, on Monday launched a herbal medicine believed to cure and prevent the virus.

The herbal medicine developed by Malagasy Institute of Applied Research and branded COVID-Organics, contains Artemisia – a plant on the Island used in the fight against malaria.

President Rajoelina said, “all trials and tests have been conducted and its effectiveness in reducing the elimination of symptoms have been proven for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 in Madagascar.”

Since school children in Madagascar returned to school on Wednesday, a presidential decree prior to their resumption stated that COVID-Organics is mandatory for them. The president also shared that the medicine had cured two COVID-19 cases.

“The COVID-Organics will be distributed free of charge to our most vulnerable compatriots and sold at very low prices to others. All profits will be donated to IMRA to finance scientific research,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“I’m convinced that, in fact, history will prove us, but today there are already two cases that have been cured with the COVID-organics, but we’ll actually see what happens next.”

“COVID Organics will be used in profilaxis, i.e. preventive, but clinical observations have shown a trend towards its effectiveness in curative, other clinical studies are currently underway,” he stressed at the launch.


Citizens rush herbal medication


Citizens of Madagascar on Thursday rushed out in numbers to collect the herbal medicine launched by Mr Rajoelina on Monday.

NobleReporters showed Madagascans queuing for the medication, taking portions from officials in protective gear.

“The president said this remedy cures and we trust him so we drink it,” one woman who received her dose told the media.

“When I discovered this drink, I hesitated as a parent. I said to myself: ‘How come the sick people don’t drink it, and why do we make students drink it?’ I hesitated a lot,” another citizen quizzed.

In response to the launch of COVID-Organics, WHO said in a statement that they did not “recommend self-medication with any medicines as prevention or cure for COVID-19.”

WHO had earlier on warned governments not to treat coronavirus patients with medications not scientifically proven to treat the virus.

The President’s Chief of Staff, Rosa Ranoromaro, said that although Mr Rajoelina was aware of WHO’s warnings, “he has a duty to Malagasy people.”

Madagascar has a total of 121 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 59 recoveries, and no death.


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