Medical researchers and health officials are working hard to find a vast solution to calm the COVID-19 pandemic. As opposed to traditional medical resolutions and vaccines people are expecting to be developed, South African country, Zimbabwe, is proposing to pivot toward herbal treatments to end the deadly virus.
The government of Zimbabwe has authorized herbalists to treat coronavirus patients, however, medical experts still encourage them to stick to WHO guidelines.
In recent years, their traditional treatments and herbal remedies have garnered more attention from researchers in science, as reported by Face2Face Africa.
On Monday, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health delivered a letter to the head of the country’s main COVID-19 treatment center, urging them to reconsider using an herbalist to treat patients. According to a VOA report, this herbalist may have a cure for the virus.
Tribert Chishanyu, the president of Zimbabwe Traditional Practitioners Association, is happy that the government is allowing herbalists to treat coronavirus-positive Zimbabweans.
“Traditional medicine practice is older… than science and it is accepted by the majority of Zimbabweans,” Chishanyu said. “If modern scientists are given opportunities to try whenever there is an emergency disease (outbreak), why can’t we do the same to traditional medicine practice? We are treating symptoms related to COVID-19, so by (some) chance we may be able to treat COVID-19.”
According to him, medical practitioners are consulting with “spirit mediums” to find other COVID-19 treatments.
Opposite of this, president of Zimbabwe College of Public Health Physicians, Dr. Nyika Mahachi, told VOA that the coronavirus was still evolving and death rates were still high.
“We cannot take a chance with traditional medicine that is not proven,” Mahachi said. “Even on the regular medicines that we have, none of them have been proven to be effective in the treatment or cure of COVID-19. So, this is an unwelcome development. I am hoping that this is not a true approval, something went wrong somewhere, and the ministry urgently addresses this.”
Fortune Nyamande, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, agreed saying, “herbs may derail the gains that came with the nationwide 21-day lockdown.”
He went on to add a statement on using the proper tools to protect people against the virus and how herbal treatments may have other effects.
“By and large, we say this needs to be treated with caution. We also advocate for interventions which are grounded in science, that are grounded in evidence and that have shown to work elsewhere,” Nyamande said.