The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (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 GDP will allow itself to be dragged this low. Nigeria has about 174 Universities (43 Federal, 52 State and 79 private), 20 Faculties of Pharmacy and about 69 Federal-Funded Research Institutes (including National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development and the Na-tional Institute for Medical Research) while Madagascar has only 6 Universities, 1 Faculty of Pharmacy and 9 Research Centers!!!
Nigeria has some of the best scientists (Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biochemical, Biological etc.) 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 ‘inven-tion’ from Madagascar can do.
We have raised our voices severally that the Federal Government should review these claims and help put them through clinical evaluation as most of these producers cannot afford to conduct clinical trials. We have recommended that a portion of the nearly 25 Billion Naira donated/allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic should be dedicated for local research and development. But our Government has remained essentially silent only waiting to participate in WHO sponsored or mandated trials. We have been told that Nigeria is partici-pating in the WHO solidarity trial, but nothing on trying our own inventions and formulations.
Now we want to import COVID Organics. from Madagascar to try? Why are we like this? If the world can sup-ply us synthetic and chemically-sophisticated medicines which we apparently lack the technology to pro-duce, why must we wait for the World to supply us herbal formulations which we can easily make and which 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. This dependency mentality needs to change and now is the time. We must seize this opportunity to look inwards, build confidence on our abilities, competences and re-orientate our national economic philosophy from import dependency to export driven. And Nigeria can beat India and China in the production and export of herbal products if anyone is willing to lead us down this part.
Pharm (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa OFR, MON, NPOM, FPSN
President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria
I bet if it were a European country or the Americans who invented or came up with such cure you would never right such an article in such a way. If God Blessd Madagascar to find the cure then why objecting. Why because it is one of the poorest country in africa thats why. God helps those with good intentions and he doesn’t like peole to boast. I come from a very rich country in africa as well with a very high GDP, but God choose this nation(Madagascar )with a low GDP. Go and read your bible before you drag God in your prideful article and boasting about your country rather than boasting about God work. I bet if it was Nigeria or any other African country who came up with a remedy Madagascar would welcome such effort and idea. It’s not about which country in Africa who found the cure first, it about all of us African standing as one in solidarity and helping each othe out. The malagacy president stated this clearly that he wants to help his African brothers and sisters.
This is why today Africa/African we are were we are today: because we are egocentric, narcissistic, jealous, selfish and full of pride and not to forget how corrupted we have become to be. We are never ready to help a brother, what we do is just criticise. We never congratulate or encourage a country from our own continent but we pull it down. All of this is our weak point. the first world countries have seen this weak point and they are using it against us. Bear in mind if we continue with this kind of attitude and mind set,Africa as one and even your country will never go anywhere any further. we will remain corrupted we’ll continue go killing, and fighting amongst us and one day we will know longer exist and the first world countries generation will be the ones who will take over this precious land of ours.