Coronavirus (1193) Declaration of the Association of Science Journalists and Communicators for the Promotion of Health in Cameroon (3) Promotion of traditional medicine (2)

23 March, 2021

This is regarding the declaration of the Association of Science Journalists and Communicators for the Promotion of Health (AJC-PROSANTE) in Cameroon on the resurgence of COVID-19. The HIFA moderator suggested that a couple of points in this declaration are "controversial". These two points happen to be about traditional medicine. The declaration states that the government should:

"... 2. Promote and integrate products from Traditional Medicine in the treatment of Covid-19 ; and provide financial support to the promoters of endogenous solutions.

3. In addition, AJC-PROSANTE calls on the Parliament, the Government and the Head of State for the adoption and promulgation of a Law on Traditional Medicine in Cameroon. ..."

Regarding inem 2 above, most modern pharmaceuticals derive from traditional medicine, so the idea of providing fiancial support to explore possible traditional remedies is not so far-fetched. Clearly, traditional products that are found to be useless against COVID-19 should NOT be promoted and integrated. But the idea of scientifically examining them for possible efficacy is surely not so bizarre.

Exactly the same argument applies to allopathic ("modern") medicines.

Bernard Seytre's recent HIFA message notes that "Hydroxychloroquine (modern medicine) has been widely prescribed while numerous clinical trials have shown it has no efficacy, neither to prevent nor to treat COVID-19, but causes serious cardiological side effects." It is imperative to "follow the science" in both traditional and allopathic medicine. It's worth noting that hydroxychloroquine is a modern derivative of cinchona, which was identified and first used as traditional medicine against malaria long before "modern" medicine had the faintest idea about how to treat the disease (even though malaria was found as far north as Italy and throughout the rest of the Mediterranean).

And as regards item 3 above, the idea of regularing the traditional medicine sector is absolutely consistent with WHO advice (and common sense). How can that be ocntroversial?

Chris Zielinski

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HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Global Health, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme at the University of Winchester. Formerly an NGO, Phi supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. Chris also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. He was the founder of the ExtraMED project (Third World biomedical journals on CD-ROM), and managed the Gates Foundation-supported Health Information Resource Centres project. He served on WHO’s Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. Chris has been a director of the World Association of Medical Editors, UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). UK-based, he is also building houses in Zambia. chris AT

His publications are at and and his blogs are and