Sometime in April, 2020, the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, launched the herbal drink known as COVID-Organics, which he claimed can cure and prevent COVID-19. People, especially Africans, celebrated this discovery. Everyone believed COVID will be sent back to where it came from in a matter of weeks. Africans were so happy and proud because we will take the glory of finding the cure for Corona. In fact, it was a moment of hope and pride for many.
But then scientists began to throw questions at Madagascar. Medical doctors began to voice their concerns. Pharmacists wanted to find the components of the drugs. WHO cautioned people from using it (and any other medicines the body has not approved). And then, Madagascar was asked to provide peer-reviewed reports and clinical tests analysis to support their claims. That was when hell was let loose.
Instead of Madagascar to provide simple reports to show that the syrup is effective, the government became aggressive. It was that time that they remembered that Africa is being marginalised. It was then that Madagascar reminded other African nations that good things from Africa will never be endorsed by the rest of the world. It was then they remembered that scientists are kicking against the syrup because it is not a chemical that was manufactured in the lab. It was then that the Malagasy president remembered that WHO has been trying to suppress the production and distribution of the medicine. They truly played the victim. But did their trick work? Oh yes, it worked very well.
Trust other Africans, who already have it at the back of their mind that the Western world looks down on them, the Malagasy president’s “cry” pushed them into action. Without heeding the warnings of WHO, these African countries ordered for COVID-Organics from Madagascar, their brother. Nigeria also joined the bandwagon, even though the government claimed it was a gift from Madagascar. But all in all, COVID-Organics was distributed to many African nations. And then, many of us started the long, expectant and impatient wait for the miracle drink to prove WHO wrong.
We waited for weeks for reports to come from all the countries that bought COVID-Organics to show that the concoction is truly an African magic, but nothing happened. Nigerian government, in their rare wisdom, sent the drink to the lab to make sure it is safe for the citizenry. But from the moment they sent it to lab to Thursday 2nd July, 2020, nothing was heard of the syrup again.
On Thursday 2nd July, 2020, Nigeria Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, intimated us that the primary plant used in preparing the miracle drink, COVID-Organics, is grown here in Nigeria. This landed as the first bomb to show that COVID-Organics may not be what the owners claimed after all. The next bombshell from Nigeria came on Sunday 19th July, 2020, when National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) released their findings on the wonder drink.
NIPRD, in the report it presented to the Minister of Health, said that studies conducted on COVID-Organics revealed that the drink does not cure COVID-19 as claimed by Madagascar. The Director of the institute, Obi Adigwe, said, “They (the Madagascar’s officials) are hiding a lot of things and I think it is possible that they don’t have strong science backing up their claim. But our own analysis does not show any proof that it can cure COVID-19.”
To support the suspicion of NIPRD that Madagascar is hiding the clinical analysis of COVID-Organics, the virus has decided to attack the Malagasies in their numbers. Despite the availability of the wonder drink to these people, the virus has been taking its toll on them. This Tuesday, news had it that Madagascar hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19 patients and that only patients with severe symptoms are admitted. Cases of death were also reported and the number of deaths is still increasing. For this it will be good to ask, “Did Madagascar lie to the world?”
It is hard to answer this question from our own end because no one can actually say what’s going on. I would have said that they didn’t lie because Corona may have mutilated and become resistant to COVID-Organics. But then the NIPRD analysis will prove me wrong.
We may say that the Madagascar’s officials were in a haste to release the drug without conducting scientific analysis to prove its potency; but why have they not done it since scientists and medical practitioners demanded for it? Or, could it be that they did it and found out it wasn’t good enough and hid the result from the rest of the world?
Whatever it might be, I believe Andry Rajoelina owes a lot of people an apology. He made medical practitioners, scientists and indeed, the WHO, look bad. We pounced on our doctors that called for caution and told off pharmacists that asked questions. Now, we have seen that they were right and that we were played.
But, we need answers from Madagascar so we will know our stand.