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Africa News of Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Source: namibian.com.na

Namibian doctors petition government on giving Ivermectin to coronavirus patients

Doctors in Namibia want  Ivermectin approved as medication for coronavirus Doctors in Namibia want Ivermectin approved as medication for coronavirus

More than 30 doctors countrywide have petitioned the Ministry of Health and Social Services and Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council (NMRC) to urgently grant emergency approval for the administration of Ivermectin to Coronavirus patients.

The doctors argue that the approval of the veterinary medicine will stop patients from self-medicating with the drug without any supervision or medical advice.

The drug is freely available on the market. They further argue that side effects are mild. Ivermectin is used for parasitic infections mainly in domestic animals. The drug that is available in Namibia is not approved to be administered to human beings.

“As doctors, we cannot simply stand by and watch our patients to become breathless, get oxygen-dependent, suffer or die, when there is an effective, safe and cheap drug at hand that could save lives, prevent hospitalisations and help us to beat this terrible infection,” said the petition.

Ivermectin, according to the petition, is allegedly administered to coronavirus patients in India where the virus has killed thousands of people in the past months. Some countries including South Africa have started to administer the drug in certain coronavirus cases.

Although the Ivermectin sold in Namibia is not approved for human consumption, The Namibian has established that there are doctors who have been administering the drug to patients.

“The one in the shops in Namibia can be used for humans but in a different form. There is another one that is used for scabies but it must be used under medical supervision,” said the doctor.

The minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula declined to entertain the petition.

“The petition is misdirected. The ministry does not register medicines,” said Shangula.

Earlier this year NMRC issued a notice to pharmacies and doctors to stop producing, dispensing or prescribing Ivermectin as a treatment of coronavirus.

NMRC registrar of medicine, Johannes Gaeseb, told The Namibian the decision not to approve Ivermectin use in Namibia was for the safety of patients and because of lack of clinical information.

“Here it is just for cattle; not for people. If we get proper official research results that support the benefit of it to Covid-19 patients, we could consider it, but not now. It's all about health and safety,” he said.

The doctors added that had there been detrimental effects on people using Ivermectin, due to lack of research, the effect might rather be blamed on coronavirus (or anything else) instead of the treatment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in March issued a statement recommending the use of Ivermectin within clinical trials only until more data is available.

“The current evidence on the use of Ivermectin to treat coronavirus patients is inconclusive,” said the statement.

It recommended the systemic use of corticosteroids for severe or critically ill coronavirus patients. The WHO also advised against the use of the malaria preventative drug hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.

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