By Adedayo Akinwale
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has denied endorsing and ordering Madagascar tonic, also called Covid Organics (CVO) for the treatment of the coronavirus pandemic.
Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina had last month officially launched the CVO, a herbal mixture developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, claiming that it could prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.
However, ECOWAS in a statement on Thursday said it was aware that several claims of a Covid-19 cure have been made in different parts of the world, but insisted that it can only support and endorse products that have been shown to be effective through scientific study.
ECOWAS said that for this reason, its health institution, West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), is collaborating with relevant partners including WHO, Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, national, regional and international research consortia to promote the scientific search for a cure.
It also revealed that it is working with member states on some of the medications available for clinical trials and for use on a compassionate basis in selected severe cases.
It stated: “Our attention has been drawn to a story making the headlines that claims ECOWAS has ordered a package of Covid Organics (CVO) medicine from a third country.
“We wish to dissociate ECOWAS and its health institution, West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), from this claim and to inform the general public that we have not ordered the said CVO medication.
“As part of its mandate to safeguard and improve the health of the region’s population, WAHO remains committed to promoting rational traditional medicine practices and products in the ECOWAS region, and over the years has worked consistently with the member states to scientifically investigate plant medicines of proven efficacy.”
ECOWAS added that these products are documented in ECOWAS Pharmacopoeia of Traditional Medicines, the second edition of which would be published in the next few weeks.
It noted that some of the traditional medicine centres of excellence in the region are also currently investigating products of potential efficacy.
ECOWAS stressed that it would continue to focus on delivering on the decisions made by its Heads of State and Government at their recent Extraordinary Summit on the fight against Covid-19, one of which is to strengthen cooperation among member states in research, training and experience sharing in health matters in general, and in the fight against Covid-19 in particular.