Emma Emeozor, [email protected], @Emekaili
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is facing one of its worse times since it was founded on April 7, 1948. Some world leaders have expressed dissatisfaction over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic even as it is underfunded. Notable among its critics is United States President Donald Trump who is championing a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the organisation. He has threatened to withdraw US membership and its funding of the organisation, alleging that China pressured it to “mislead the world” over the outbreak of COVID-19 which originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Meanwhile, finding a cure for the disease has thrown a challenge to the international community as nations disagree over the authentic vaccine that can treat it.
In this report, world renowned anatomy educator, endocrinologist, embryologist and biologist, Professor Oladapo Ashiru says Africa has herbs that can cure COVID-19. He argues that coronavirus is man-made just and berates Trump for castigating WHO. He also allays fears that Africa will be worse hit if Trump withdraws US funding of WHO, pointing out that China is ready to increase its financial support to the organization to $800 million.
At a recent virtuous summit of the World Health Organisation, participating nations called for reform but Professor Ashiru thinks otherwise. “I don’t see any need for reform in the World Health Organisation, an organisation that has been working for years, why would we be reforming them, they are doing very well.”
Asked how do you mean? He responded rhetorically asking “How come they are not doing well, they are doing very well.”Continuing, he said: “Well, the fact is that WHO started in 1948. Just because United States President Donald Trump is not happy with WHO, does not mean that the organisation needs reform. WHO, to the best of my knowledge has been doing things based on the information available to them, although there are some conspiracies around whether WHO is performing, but that is what I can say about that.”
He believes that “the challenges facing the organisation is due to underfunding and also, the fact that sometimes the member states don’t have to follow what WHO says. WHO has come up with the virus, it has provided information on what it thought was right. The only thing is that I think WHO should have been a bit more cautious in warning against the use of one drug or the other in testing as to their efficacy in COVID-19.
“That is the only area where I see that they were a bit fast in banning one drug and promoting another one, especially a drug that is used commonly. They should have asked for a little more extensive study on those drugs like Chloroquine or Artemisinin and its various derivatives before making a pronouncement.”
The Professor was quick to exonerate China against the back drop of Trump’s accusation that the country is responsible for the emergence of coronavirus. “The truth is that this is a novel virus, nobody knows much about it, and we also know that it was man-made, it was not a natural virus that just came, it was a man-made virus. So, how do you now confront a man-made virus, you have to do a lot of research.
“But the first thing is that when there is a pandemic like that, when it was in China, nobody know what it was, we don’t know whether it was … I mean … for a very long time in that area, in China, they have been having a lot respiratory diseases by virus like SARS COV-1 and it stayed in China and sometimes up to the Middle East. But it was not a global problem. So they have to watch the trend before they can say it was a global problem. And when it occurred, the Chinese have to study what they have in their hands and characterise it before they can tell the world this is what they have.”
He wants the world to also question America over reports that the virus originated from there. “The truth is that America is just making a lot of noise now because some research done is claiming that this virus originated from America. For example, the proceedings of Academy of Science published some research work done in Cambridge that showed that this coronavirus are of about three types and it is the first type that spreads this virus.
“The type A occurs in bats and it is in America that they exist. So, how did they cross over from America to now become something that cross over to become a virus in man. In other words, a virus that exists in animals, in bats or in monkeys cannot cross over to man unless you go to take that virus and manipulate it. So, it is human manipulation in the laboratory that led to this crisis.
“And the Chinese are saying that it was the Americans that brought it to China during a sporting event. But because America has the greatest voice and the greatest propaganda, they are suppressing some of these issues. And all statements being made by Trump, the whole of the Congress in the US don’t agree with him. Nobody in America agrees that WHO needs any reorganisation or reform.
But why should Trump be blowing hot if China was not responsible for the emergence of conoravirus? Hear his answer. “Trump is just doing this to create a diversion from his electoral problems. And also at the end of the day, you can see that Trump is not happy that it is a black man that is heading the WHO. So, Africa has to rise up to support the WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, he is a good man, he knows about what he is doing.
African leaders must talk, and the African Union in its capacity as a continental voice must rise to Ghebreyesus defense. If he were to be a white man America and European leaders will not be talking like that.
Ashiru accused Trump of complicating the problem. “The truth is that all Trump is doing is just trying to increase the outbreak of coronavirus to create … because in America, more of the black people are the ones dying and to him, if many of them could die, only a few of them would be available to vote in November. So he would win. And that is his thinking. He is going around without a mask, when they are supposed to be wearing masks, and what do you think he is saying, he asked rhetorically.
What does Ashiru think about local cure for COVID-19? His response: “Now, in terms of African traditional medicine, it is not that they are not there . . . I won’t call it African traditional medicine . . . there are naturally occurring herbs that exist in Africa. It is has been shown so far by a few studies that the tea from dogoyanro leave can help against this virus. Also, in Madagascar, they are using artemisinin which is wormwood. So, we have a lot of plants and leaves in Africa that contain chloroquine and its derivatives and other anti-malaria. It looks like any anti-malaria around would treat this virus.”
He buttressed his argument saying, “personally, I know about ten people who said that they got this coronavirus and all they use was artemisinin, chloroquine, quatem or artequick which are drugs we use for malaria in Nigeria. And some have even use things as simple as ginger, lemon and garlic.
Asked how the pandemic should be treated, he said, “I think that this COVID-19, in its address, in its treatment . . . must be at the preliminary stage when it is still in the upper respiratory tract, when you have things like sore throat, cold, headache or the like, that is when you employ all those medication and it will work . . . but if you wait for the virus to descend to the lungs, then it will multiply faster than you can handle it. And at that point, you will need things like chloroquine, zinc.
On the implication of US withdrawal of its funding for WHO for Africa, a continent that largely depends on the organisation, Ashiru said “there is no implication for Africa.” He insists that Africa can take care of its self. The US donated about $453 million to WHO last year but China is going to double that, they are going to give about $800 million. So, what is the implication of America’s withdrawal of its funding?”
On the lessons Africa can learn from COVID-19, Ashiru said: “What Africa needs to learn from its COVID-19 experience is that our public health must be improved radically. At this point it is now clear that there is no need . . . look at America, all the money they had was being spent on defense, because they think that the war that will come, they will be shooting drones, armoured tanks and jet fighters but coronavirus came and they had a very bad health system and already, thousands of people have died. So, what that means is that the governments of the world should now be investing more in health than defense because the next series of attacks coming in the world is not going to be any war, nobody is going to fight anybody, and it is this viral war that will be occurring. There will be no room to travel abroad to seek medical help because the borders will be closed. Very soon, we will overcome this. Five to ten years from now, another one could come and we have to be prepared.”