BY Kevin Agbor
Prof. Aime Bonny, lecturer in the University of Douala’s Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, FMPS, has refuted claims by Marlyse Ndi Peyou that “Ngul Be Tara”, a traditional medication for COVID-19, is registered with the Nigerian National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC.
The drug, produced by Marlyse Ndi Peyou, is being circulated in Cameroon with the intention that it has been approved by NAFDAC cure for COVID-19.
The University Don denied the claims during a press conference in Douala on October recently.
It was organised by a Non-governmental Organisation – Collectif pour l’Information, l’Education et la Sensibilisation sur la COVID-19.
The press conference invited several specialists from different fields to discuss the COVID-19 situation in Cameroon and Africa. Among the attendees were traditional doctors dealing with traditional herbs in the fight against COVID-19.
Talking to The Post, Prof. Bonny said the purpose the conference was “to bring together traditional medicine and conventional medicine so as to increase our efficacy to treat our people but we have to be very careful with many people who work in this area of traditional medicine claiming that their drugs are very efficient in treating people”.
To him, a clear example is that of Dr. Ndi Peyou who claimed to have registered his drug, “Ngul Be Tara”, with NAFDAC.
He added that the Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachi, should keep politics aside and use scientific approach in checking files of traditional Doctors and approve only drugs which fulfil clinical evidence.
To him, none of the drugs that have been prioritised on the treatment of COVID-19 really works because, scientifically, they cannot be proven since most of them were approved without the aid of a researcher.
“If they work with researcher like me and it is found worthy, we will push these drugs to the spotlight. So you can see why our drug does not get exposure and also our traditional doctors need training on how to produce good data on their services,” experts said.
Going by a clarification document of the non-approval of the Cameroonian drug “Ngu Be Tara” in the treatment of COVID-19, the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr Monica Hemben Eimunjeze, wrote: “I have noted your concern regarding the use of a NAFDAC brand to promote commercial activity of an unregistered product in Cameroon. Please be informed that the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has not registered or approved any product by the name ‘Ngul Be Tara’ for the treatment of COVID-19”. Explaining the sociological reasons of the trust of traditional endogenous drugs not only in Africa but across the world, Prof. Charles Ngadjifna, a Sociologist of University of Douala, said, although many essential oils and medicine plants are cultivated in Africa, several factors such as fatalism, snobbism, pessimism, stigmatisation have denied the expansion of this natural gift. There is also the complex of modern medicine being superior to traditional medication.