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A COVID-19 ‘Cure’ — or a Waste of Taxpayer Money?
Global Press Journal ^ | July 15, 2021 | Nakisanze Segawa

Posted on 07/23/2021 12:05:37 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Uganda’s government-run trial uses a traditional herb to treat patients. It's part of a larger effort to shed a "dependency" on Western medicine.

For Abdul Karim Musasizi, a traditional herbalist, news of Uganda developing a COVID-19 treatment based on a local herb isn’t just about possibly saving lives. It’s about vindication.

“I am happy to know that government has finally listened to what we have always been saying — that traditional herbs can really work and do work,” says Musasizi, secretary general of the National Council of Traditional Healers and Herbalists Associations.

Supporters of the government-run drug trial, which began in January, call it a potential watershed moment for this East African country as it seeks to shed what President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni calls an unhealthy reliance on Western medicine and vaccines.

In a speech announcing the trial, Museveni called Uganda’s medical research “a liberation struggle of a new type — [an] intellectual liberation struggle [to get out of] slavery and dependency.”

“I don’t know what is the problem with Africans, how they can sit here like maggots — and they are dying and they are waiting for Europeans to save them,” he said. “I really feel infuriated when I see Africans sitting here waiting to die if the Europeans don’t find a solution.”

Sixty patients are taking part in a COVID-19 trial at Mulago National Specialised Hospital in Kampala. The trial could last at least six months.

Others, including medical professionals, mock the trial as a waste of taxpayer money. The trial, known as UBV-01N, is Museveni’s latest move to distance Uganda from Europe and the United States. As numerous nations and analysts scorned the violence-marred lead-up to January’s presidential vote — which resulted in his winning a sixth term — he assailed the main opposition candidate as “an agent of foreign interests.”

Some historians and teachers in Uganda, which won independence from Britain in 1962, have pushed for the country to rename roads and other public spaces that honor colonial leaders.

The trial could reshape how the world sees Uganda — and how Uganda sees itself, says Gerald Ahabwe, secretary general of the Uganda Sociological and Anthropological Association.

A triumphant trial would be “a huge boost to the country’s research and development infrastructure, and a huge statement for the country’s political economy,” Ahabwe says. It signals the growing acceptance of traditional medicine in Uganda, he adds, although “the sector is poorly regulated and infiltrated by many quacks.”

“I am happy to know that government has finally listened to what we have always been saying — that traditional herbs can really work and do work."

On June 18, the president declared a 42-day national lockdown to arrest a dramatic, variant-driven rise in Uganda’s coronavirus cases. Among other measures, the lockdown suspends most public and private transport; shuts schools and places of worship; and bans most public gatherings.

By the end of June, Uganda had confirmed 78,394 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 903 deaths. Two weeks later, that number had shot up to more than 88,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths.

Secrecy veils many of the trial’s details. Dr. Monica Musenero, senior presidential adviser on epidemics, declined to share the government’s metrics for the trial’s success as well as its cost. She also won’t identify the herb being used or how it, in her words, “cures” COVID-19.

Musenero does say that the government-run Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute developed the treatment and that 60 people are participating in the trial. That’s less than half of the original target of 124.

Some potential participants declined to stay beyond the standard 14 days for COVID-19 patients at the Mulago National Specialised Hospital, where the trial is being held, Musenero says. Others had underlying medical conditions.

Originally scheduled for 30 days, the trial may now run for six months or longer because of the lack of patients.

Research on the trial started in April 2020, when government health officials went to communities whose residents said they had come up with herbal treatments to combat COVID-19, Musenero says. Officials tested 16 herbs and then chose one for the trial.

“We picked one product which had things we thought were credible in science,” Musenero says. “We had to purify, and scientifically formulate it, removed anything which could be poisonous and toxic. We looked at doses, like which dose will likely kill the virus in human beings, but not harming the person.”

Namusisi Rachel, an independent website developer, says while it’s important that Uganda develops its own drugs, the country must first win the trust of its population.

“Many of us don’t believe in government-led initiatives because we have seen money injected into some of these initiatives, and they never come to pass or stay on the market,” Namusisi says. “So the COVID cure drug might never graduate from the trial phase, and if it does, production might fail after a few months.”

“Many of us don’t believe in government-led initiatives because we have seen money injected into some of these initiatives, and they never come to pass or stay on the market." NAMUSISI RACHEL INDEPENDENT WEBSITE DEVELOPER Kisitu Keith, a physician at a health center in Kyebando, a community in Kampala, the capital, predicts that the project will fail. He scoffs at the notion that the herb treatment will kill the coronavirus.

“The failure is first noticed in trying to develop a cure and not a vaccine or a treatment to manage” the coronavirus, he says. “Yet it’s known in science that viruses have no cure since they are not living entities but can rather replicate within the host.”

Musenero disagrees. She says Uganda’s proposed “cure” can actually kill the coronavirus and notes that this wouldn’t be unprecedented. For example, she says, people with hepatitis C can take a medication that rids the body of the virus that causes it.

The World Health Organization knows of Uganda’s clinical trial and has advised Musenero and other government health officials, says Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, country representative for WHO in Uganda.

Traditional healer Bwogi Livingstone picks herbs. About 60% of Ugandans reportedly use herbs to treat an array of conditions, from headaches to malaria.

A 2012 report by the Uganda Ministry of Health estimated that about 60% of Ugandans depend on traditional medicine.

Ugandans use herbs and plants to treat conditions from flu and malaria to infertility and gynecological issues. These treatments are sold in shops, clinics, on the streets, in markets and even in traditional healers’ homes.

Tumuhaise Rose, a snack maker in Kasubi, a Kampala suburb, has used traditional medicine to treat gynecological problems. Chronic itching vexed her for eight months, she says, “until a friend recommended traditional medicine, which healed me in just two weeks. I have gained respect and trust for traditional medicine, and I hope the COVID cure trial becomes successful.”

Bwogi Livingstone, a traditional healer for more than a decade, says the trial’s results are less important than the government’s support of herbal and plant treatments.

“The trial is significant to me in one way,” he says. “Ugandans are embracing local knowledge which is relevant to people to find solutions.”

Nakisanze Segawa is a Global Press Journal reporter based in Kampala, Uganda. She specializes in reporting on issues of health and human rights


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; covid19; uganda

At a kiosk outside Kampala, patients can buy medicines made from traditional herbs. Uganda’s government has launched a clinical trial of an herb-based treatment for COVID-19.

1 posted on 07/23/2021 12:05:37 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Many drugs are simply processed herbs. The herbs may not be approved for treatment but the herbal extracts (at several times the cost) are.


2 posted on 07/23/2021 12:11:51 PM PDT by Seruzawa (The political Left is the Garden of Eden of Incompetence - Marx the Smarter (Groucho))
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To: nickcarraway

Might work! Isn’t quinine from the bark of a tree?


3 posted on 07/23/2021 12:19:55 PM PDT by Jan_Sobieski (Sanctification)
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To: nickcarraway
sounds like somebody is pissed off:

“I don’t know what is the problem with Africans, how they can sit here like maggots — and they are dying and they are waiting for Europeans to save them,” he said. “I really feel infuriated when I see Africans sitting here waiting to die if the Europeans don’t find a solution.”

and there it is...

4 posted on 07/23/2021 12:24:32 PM PDT by Chode (there is no fall back position, there's no rally point, there is no LZ... we're on our own. P144:1)
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To: nickcarraway

Good thing this wasn’t endorsed by the bad orangeman or this would be illegal.


5 posted on 07/23/2021 12:27:04 PM PDT by Organic Panic (Democrats. Memories as short as Joe Biden's eyes.)
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To: nickcarraway

It’s a shame no humans failed to survive the Spanish flu about a hundred years. If only there had been a vaccine.(/sarc)


6 posted on 07/23/2021 12:43:35 PM PDT by clearcarbon (Fraudulent elections have consequences.)
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To: Jan_Sobieski

https://godskingdom.org/blog/2020/08/homemade-hcq-quinine


7 posted on 07/23/2021 12:45:22 PM PDT by chalkfarmer
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To: nickcarraway
Traditional healer Bwogi Livingstone picks herbs. About 60% of Ugandans reportedly use herbs to treat an array of conditions, from headaches to malaria.

One that treats Malaria? Isn't that what HCQ is for? I'd be trying that one first.

I think God put something on this planet that will cure or prevent most anything. Man with his brilliant ego would rather try and "create" something. We'd rather play the part, play God.

8 posted on 07/23/2021 1:08:46 PM PDT by Pollard
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To: Organic Panic

Not in Africa. Trump was more popular in Sub-Saharan Africa, than he was anywhere else, including the U.S.


9 posted on 07/23/2021 1:24:30 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: clearcarbon

Well, a lot of people died. You really want to go back to that?


10 posted on 07/23/2021 1:25:20 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Some of those bottles are already open


11 posted on 07/23/2021 1:38:07 PM PDT by butlerweave
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To: Pollard

‘I think God put something on this planet that will cure or prevent most anything. Man with his brilliant ego would rather try and “create” something.’

funny how that ‘something’ didn’t allow humans to live past the age of forty for numerous millenia, until man and his ego processed means of learning how that ‘something’ actually worked...

unless, you wish to make the argument that ancient and medeival peoples were healthier than today’s...


12 posted on 07/23/2021 1:45:14 PM PDT by IrishBrigade
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To: IrishBrigade

Well we have a lot more knowledge and better equipment now. Microscopes, computers, knowledge of how the human body works etc.

We just tend to go full bore and full speed with innovate and produce. How many man-made products cause cancer? Lead paint, now that was a wonderful idea. Now we have waterborne paints that are much safer for the applicator and environment. I worked as a fabricator and also painted in the sign business. There wasn’t much I did or worked with that wasn’t poison.

If the scientific community actually took extracts seriously, I bet we’d find out we could replace a lot of synthetic drugs. Nope. Now we’re rushing right into messing around with DNA/RNA for the next generation of cures.

My sister did our genealogy and there were plenty of people 2-300 years ago that made it to their 70s to 80s. There were also a lot of babies and kids that died, hence the average age being a lot lower but a lot has changed since then. Our houses are better built and climate controlled. We have plumbing. We’ve gotten rid of most of the old killer diseases and viruses. Now we create them. Of course even with all the improvements, the average age of black males is 35/40. Same as some of the feudal times. Imagine that.


13 posted on 07/23/2021 2:13:15 PM PDT by Pollard
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