What government does when advised to give people coffee to cure Covid

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The health department is not entertaining anything untested and unproven, while traditional healers are complaining they’re not being respected.

Sunlight dishwashing liquid, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, steaming coffee and “magic palm energy”.

These are among dozens of supposed remedies that the health department has been asked to endorse for the treatment or cure of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The health department, which receives at least five calls or messages a day with such suggestions, refers these to statutory bodies responsible for testing and clinical trials.

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Popo Maja, the health department spokesman, said they would not entertain anything untested and not approved.

“We refer them to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), or the Medicines Control Council (MCC), a statutory body that regulates the performance of clinical trials and registration of medicines and medical devices for use in specific diseases,” he said.

Maja said the department was inundated with complaints that the lockdown had denied people access to indigenous and spiritual healers, herbalists and herbal shops because they were not deemed essential.

The Traditional Healers Institute says government has demonstrated disdain towards African indigenous belief systems.

The institute, which trains traditional healers and herbalists, said that not once had President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned traditional healers in relation to measures to address the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We have people who are on treatment for various ailments who cannot access their medication or consult with their traditional health practitioner because of the lockdown.

“It tells you a lot about government’s attitude to Africans and their belief systems,” said Gogo Bathini Mbatha, the institute’s president.

He said traditional healers could not see their patients and there was no indication about how they would be assisted financially when lockdown was over as part of the Covid-19 relief fund.

– siphom@citizen.co.za

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