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Opinions of Thursday, 28 May 2020

Columnist: Nana Antwi Boasiako Barimah

The Madagascar's covid-organics and the WHO's entrenched position

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As a proud African, of course I would never approbate any position that seeks to denigrate the African race.

As a health-oriented academic, I will never subscribe to any drug whatsoever that has not undergone rigorous scientific scrutiny irrespective of its origin.

My Dad, Dr. Kofi Bobi Barimah has been an astute advocate for traditional medicine in Ghana and has published many articles in that regard, he is additionally the Executive Director (CEO) for the Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CMPR) at Mampong-Akuapim. With this kind of background, it is visibly clear that I will never doubt the potency of any herbal drug of which the Madagascar's case is no exception.

We need to dispel the notion that WHO is Anti-African and that has occasioned their strong stance against the Madagascar's COVID-ORGANICS because the Director General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is himself an African (Ethiopian for that matter).

The Madagascar's covid-organics is a herbal preparation that the people of Madagascar believe is the cure for COVID-19 but this assertion must be subjected to scientific proof.

It is worthy of note that even in Ghana, before any herbal drug is approved by the FDA, it has to undergo rigorous testing at the Centre For Plant Medicine Research so why should the WHO treat the Madagascar's covid-organics differently?

For all we know the successes Madagascar has chalked with the use of this Covid-organics may have been induced by con-founders, which WHO must test to have a vivid understanding of. In epidemiology and in research, con-founders are extraneous variables that introduce error in results, hence, they make it seem like there is a clear association between some variables, but in reality that may not be the case when the results are adjusted and reanalyzed.

On the flip side, it could also be that the Madagascar's covid-organics is indeed very efficacious and hence, the COVID-19 cure the world has been waiting for. But all this will depend on the outcome from the rigorous scientific testing that the WHO wants to carry out.

Situating the Diffusion Of Innovation Theory in this context, before a country borrows any interventional strategy that has worked in another jurisdiction to their own context.

It has to undergo a series of processes; (1) Awareness (simply being aware of the innovation. (2) Evaluation (assessment to see if it will work in the new context. (3) Trials (very important to try that intervention using a sampled population to see how effective and efficacious it is. Before we get to the final stage of adoption).

Therefore, it is incumbent on us as Africans to allow the WHO to diligently carry out its mandate grounded on sound acceptable international standards.

In a nutshell, the gold standard of interventional studies is the Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Trials and I highly know for sure that is exactly what the WHO would use.