by Jean-Jacques Cornish
In journalism 101 we were taught never to give the oxygen of publicity to quack remedies for dreaded diseases.
That’s why you don’t read, hear or see about cures for cancer in anything approaching responsible media.
Believe me, these emerge daily from the crazies and the con-artists seeking attention or a fast buck.
So it was to be expected that miracle antidotes to COVID 19 would be flung at editors very early on in the pandemic.
They could safely ignore almost all them – until heads of state got involved.
Madagascar’s deejay turned President Andry Rajoelina seeks international endorsement of a remedy for COVID 19 made from the leaves of the artemisia which has provided relief to some malaria sufferers.
He could have saved his blushes had he sat in on my journalism cadet course all those years ago.
And the bench next to him could usefully have been occupied by the United States television game show star turned President Donald Trump who advocated another outdated malaria remedy, the outdated chloroquine, for curing COVID 19.
That was before he threw the medical reins between the horses last month and urged COVID 19 patients to inject disinfectant and shine ultra violet light into their bodies.
Time magazine reports the American Association of Poison Control Centres finding a 121% increase in poisoning from bleach and other disinfectants in April 2020 over the same month the previous year.
Rajoelina cannot match Trump’s lethal milestone. However his angry assertion that the African Union has rejected the herbal remedy known as COVID ORGANICS only because it was not developed by a European company shows he has a sense of the ridiculous every bit as well-developed as his Washington counterpart.
And he evidently shares the Donald’s penchant. for disregarding the media that does not reflect his views.
How else could he have overlooked the storm last month when two French doctors suggested that the COVID 19 vaccine be tested on poor Africans because they have not taken protected measures?
Doctors Camille Locht and Jean-Paul Mira have had the good sense to apologize for hurt and offense they caused.
The Africa’s continental body was furiously adamant that it citizens would not be used as guinea pigs.
So has the World Health Organisation, Like the AU the WHO give the thumbs down to COVID ORGANICS which has reportedly been tested on 20 people for two weeks. Hardly decisive.
Rajoelina can draw some comfort from the favorable attention his peers have given the Malgash remedy.
Tanzania’s President John Magafuli, who evidently believes that his chemistry qualification entitles him to be a COVID 19 maverick, sent a plane to collect a load of the remedy in Antananarivo.
Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Niger have also bought consignments.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is quoted as saying South Africa will help test and analyse COVID ORGANICS.
I fully support African solutions to African problems. But this is surely a classical case for caution.