10 October 2018

Cameroon: Proliferation of Aphrodisiacs in Douala

Owing to dropping rates of fertilily many people are turning African traditional pharmacopeia.

It is an established fact that the fertility rate especially among men is dropping around the world due to radiation from electronic gadgets and poor feeding habits. This has created a fertile ground for herbalists who claim to have the miracle cure to all sexual problems ranging from low sperm count to impotency passing through erectile dysfunction premature ejaculation and venereal diseases. Their treatment is usually made from a concoction of herbs that the patient is given to drink over a period of time.

The danger being that no one knows the dosage of the concoction or its potential side ef fects. Prominent among herbalists who specialise in sexual problems in the city of Douala, is Jean-Marie Ngameni who owns a road side traditional pharmacy along the road leading to the Wouri Bridge from Rond Point Deido.

On display are liquids of all colours and viscosity in plastic bottles placed side by side with wooden carved objects depicting the male reproductive organ. He says he does good business though most of his patients opt for anonymity.

"Some park their vehicles far off and come here on foot and don't like being seen by the public during consultation while others freely stop by and inquire about my products", he said.

"There are cleansing lotions to clean the internal part of the body which is responsible for most sexual problems. There are others to boost potency or prolong the duration of coitus," he added.

Others hawk aphrodisiacs around drinking spots and open air restau rants in the city of Douala. There is a new phenomenon in this domain. At first this activity was carried out only by Cameroonians but we are beginning to witness more and more Indians involved in the trade. Other dealers in African aphrodisiac pharmacopeia are organised in the form of a common initiative group, or nongovernmental organisation.

Here, an attempt is made to codify or standardise treatment as concoctions are well packaged and the patients asked to do medical examinations before and after treatment. But there is till that absence of quality control to guarantee the health of Cameroonians.

The truth is every village or tribe, has its pharmacopeia which is used to solve healthcare issues over ages and their effectiveness is by hearsay as there are no scientific studies on the curative substances, their potency and side effects to make sure it doesn't have a harmful effect on the health of Cameroonians.

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