Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli is eyeing a herbal drug from Madagascar to treat COVID-19 in the country.
Speaking on Sunday during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-appointed Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, Magufuli said his government is in communication with Madagascar and a team will be sent to get the drug.
“Ninawasiliana na Madagascar na wameshaandika barua. Wanasema kuna dawa zimepatikana kule, tutatuma ndege kule na dawa zile zitaletwa pia ili Watanzania nao waweze kufaidika nayo…Sisi serikali tupo na tunafanya kazi usiku na mchana, ” said magufuli.
Loosely translated, “I have information that a (COVID-19) cure has been found in Madagascar. We will soon send a plane to get us the drug so that Tanzanians can also benefit from it.”
The herbal drug was launched by Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina on April 20, 2020. The Head of State said two people had been cured.
Rajoelina said that the plant-based tonic will be given free of charge to the most vulnerable.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned the use of the drug to treat the novel Coronavirus.
WHO said there is no proof that the drug can cure COVID-19.
The country’s national medical academy (Anamem) also cast doubt on the use of the herbal drug to treat COVID-19.
It said it had the potential to damage people’s health as its “scientific evidence had not been established”.
In his speech on Sunday, Magufuli also said COVID-19 cases in Tanzania had been inflated.
The Head of State stated that an independent investigation by his team had revealed that the test results presented to the Ministry of Health by National Referral Laboratory were unrealistic.
Magufuli noted that his security team sent samples from a bird, pawpaw fruit, jackfruit, goat, sheep, rabbit and oil to the laboratory for tests and the results were shocking.
According to the President, the samples from the pawpaw fruit and goat tested positive for COVID-19 while the remaining samples either turned negative or the results were not conclusive.
Magufuli said the samples were labelled with names of people and their ages. He wondered how the researchers couldn’t differentiate the samples from those obtained from human beings.
The President said either the donated testing kits that are being used are faulty or some “frauds” are out to fight him politically
He called on the new Minister for Justice and Constitution Affairs, who replaces Ambassador Augustine Mahiga who died on Friday, to investigate the matter.
Mahiga is among three Members of Parliament who have died in Tanzania in the past few days over suspected COVID-19 complications.
So far, Tanzania has reported a total of 480 cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths.
Magufuli has in the recent past been accused of not being serious with the fight against COVID-19 after he declined to close down churches and boarder points of entry.