The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have launched an expert advisory committee to provide independent scientific advice and support to countries on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine therapies in Africa.

The 25-member Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 will support countries in collaborative efforts to conduct clinical trials of traditional medicines in compliance with international standards.

In a press statement, Africa CDC says, “By pooling expertise within the continent, the Regional Expert Committee will also accelerate the pace and elevate the standards of research, particularly clinical research on new therapies from traditional medicines against COVID-19. WHO recognizes that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits and Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations.”

Members of the Regional Expert Committee are mainly from research institutions, national regulatory authorities, traditional medicine programmes, public health departments, academia, medical pharmacy professions and civil society organizations of Member States.

Their expertise covers various areas such as traditional medicine research and development, laboratory and pre-clinical research; clinical research; regulation of medical products; research ethics; public health and community empowerment; leadership and governance; laboratory strengthening and infectious disease.

Below is the full statement:

Madagacar

In May, the Africa CDC said it was looking at Madagascar’s organic remedy.

This comes after the African island nation claimed to have produced a herbal tonic from a plant. The country said it is effective for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Some African countries have ordered the tonic despite the World Health Organisation’s warning that it has not been subjected to any scientific testing.

In the video below, Africa CDC’s Dr John Nkengasong addresses the media: