Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli today May 8, made good of his promise of sending a plane to Madagascar to fetch local herbs which the country claims cures Covid-19.
Tanzania's Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Prof Palamagamba Kabudi landed in Antannarivo a few minutes after midday for the mission.
Photos of Prof Kabudi and his host were widely shared on official government pages in Tanzania, including one in which the two ministers drunk the said herbal medicine. The Madagascan minister was named as Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba As Oliva.
It was not clear whether the consignment was bought, but the government spokesperson Dr Hassan Abbasi on his twitter handle wrote; "Tanzania has received a donation of drugs that can fight the coronavirus from Madagscar.'
The quantity to be delivered to Dar is also not clear but severla boxes draped in the Tanzanian flag were on display. The government is yet to say how the herbs would be dispensed once in the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called for clinical trials of the Madagascan herbal drink that is claimed to prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.
"We are advising the government of Madagascar to take this product through a clinical trial and we are prepared to collaborate with them," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa, told a joint media briefing with the WHO and World Economic Forum.
"We would caution and advise countries against adopting a product that has not been through clinical tests for safety and efficacy," Moeti warned.
"We are concerned about the impact that Covid-19 will have on the ability of African countries to progress towards universal health coverage," she added.
There are over 51,000 confirmed virus cases in the African continent, with more than 17,000 associated recoveries and 1,900 reported deaths, according to the WHO.