Cameroon: Traditional Healers Invade Market with Covid-19 ‘Remedies’


The floodgate of research by traditional medicine practitioners to find a cure for the Covid-19 Pandemic has been wide open in Cameroon after the country’s President, Paul Biya came out from ‘confinement’ on May 19 to laud their effort. Mr. Biya, after months of inaction and silence on Covid19, on the country’s national broadcaster said the effort by some traditional medicine practitioners was yielding fruit, which for many was a tacit endorsement of the use of traditional medicine to fight the pandemic.  


After Archbishop Samuel Kleda’s concoction got the blessing of the government as a cure to Covid-19, many other traditional practitioners like Richard Fru, Julius Ngebah, Dewa have also come up with various proposed solutions to be an antidote for the ravaging pandemic. According to them, the concoctions they brandish as a solution to the pandemic is gotten from natural plants and has no side effects. 


Many people have doubted the effectiveness of such medication because no clinical testing has been done to ascertain their effectiveness. Many of these traditional medicine practitioners popular known as “Doctas” claim that their discoveries are from the supernatural and not scientific. They can be seen in every street corner, buses, and markets advertising and selling the mixtures to the battered and desperate populace.


The World Health Organization (WHO) made its position statement on the use of locally made cocktails, especially in Africa with Madagascar as a case study. WHO officials have called on those with these traditional concoctions to pass their products through vetted testing apparatus to ensure their efficacy before prescribing it to the population as a solution. After a tough fight, President Rajoelina of Madagascar is reported to have started clinical testing in South Africa.


Cameroon has recorded over 5800 cases of Covid-19, and over 3500 have recovered from the pandemic though with no specified protocol for treatment in the hospital isolation centers. With the 3500 recoveries in Cameroon, the government sees it having recovered and takes the positive outlook as a sign all is well and has pressed for school resumption across the country. 


In parts of the once independent state of Southern Cameroons where the government of Cameroon and Southern Cameroons self-defense volunteers are still running battles,105 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded according to health officials.  65 are responding positively to treatment and 20 have completely recovered.


Public Health Delegate in Bamenda, Dr. Kingsley Che Soh, who is head of the management team of Covid-19 in the Region, has called on the population not to keep the sick at home. His call comes at a time when the population is apprehensive about the testing done in some health facilities in the region. It has been reported here and there that hospital officials are tagging the cause of death indiscriminately to Covid-19 for pecuniary motives.


Despite the spike in the number of confirmed cases and deaths in the region and the rest of the country, the government of Cameroon has relaxed all restrictive measures geared at slowing down the pandemic. Cameroon has recorded the highest number of deaths in Africa with 197 while South Africa has the highest number of infected cases, reporting about 32000.