Over the years, there have been many claims to cure HIV and AIDS. There was the famous African potato, Mocrea, Epikaizo, Ngoka, Moringa and, lately, the most controversial Aguma. All of this sparked considerable controversy before fading into oblivion with their "founders."
News in Detail BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
Former freedom fighter Richard Ngwenya, who allegedly studied herbal medicine in the former Soviet Union, the United States of America and Mexico, said he found natural medicines in the early 20th century that would reverse the symptoms of HIV and AIDS.
He is famous for transforming a dairy farm into an herb plantation. Here, various plants were grown, which he claimed were used against chronic diseases such as HIV / AIDS, asthma, diabetes, ulcers, arthritis, meningitis and cancer.
Ngwenya claimed that HIV could be treated, but poor information, poor treatment, poor hygiene, and poor diet are some of the causes of ongoing illness.
Antretroviral drugs caused blood clotting according to Ngwenya and therefore did not help much. The answer according to Ngwenya was the deacidification of the body, since fungi caused high levels of acidity in the body.
"You have to avoid milk, yeast and strong acid foods so that the body can have a pH of 7.6 to 7.8," he said.
Ngwenya was one of the first people to be shipped in Mocrea (Tai Sheng), a Chinese herbal allergy. He molested the then Minister of Health Timothy Stamps to allow the herb for clinical trials. This never happened, and he finally signed on as a herbalist, allowing him to distribute medicinal herbs and herbs.
Mocrea was sold for $ 200, which was $ 30 at the time. This amount was equivalent to almost half the salary of an average worker.
Over the years, however, Ngwenya went down with his James Mobb Immunity Enhancement Center. The extravagant facility was located in the then leafy avenues area along Josiah Chinamano Avenue.
An American author, David Simmons, who later wrote the book Modernizing Medicines: HIV / Aids and Traditional Healers in Zimbabwe described his visit to the clinic as epic.
"The James Mobb Immune Enhancement Clinic is a large, pretty white building set on a tree-shaded street in the avenues next to a large, enclosed front yard. I was amazed at the beautifully carved wooden doors with their glass windows. "
However, a visit to the site this week was in contrast to the description of Simmons.
The building is now in ruins, the white color dissolves in ugly lumps. The gate swings precariously in its hinges and the backyard is in a serious state of disorder.
Down below, in a former garage, is now a "kitchen" operated by grocers. An elderly woman is busy with her pots and the customers are already filling up the smoky room. As she looked for the whereabouts of "Dr. Ngwenya "inquires, she says the details are in the mailbox at the gate.
As I said, in the rusty mailbox is a large piece of paper with an address in Eastlea and a telephone number. The note has seen better days and is smeared with dozens of fingerprints.
When she calls the number, a pleasant female voice answers the phone and when asked about Ngwenya's whereabouts, she says he's in India.
Health stakeholders who spoke on these HIV-related claims said they were worried that patients would not get their ARV medication.
"The false claims can undo the huge gains Zimbabwe has made by not only reducing new HIV infections, but also limiting AIDS-related deaths," said Itai Rusike of the Community Health Working Group.
Last week, Walter Magaya, the founder of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD), claimed to have found an HIV cure – a herbal medicine he called Aguma.
Human rights practitioners threatened to sue if Magaya did not withdraw his testimony, and activists urged people taking antiretroviral drugs not to be influenced by these allegations and to continue taking their drugs. Magaya tipped under the growing pressure and withdrew his statements, apologizing.
He was arrested last Friday and brought to justice. Another claim to fame had gone down, but Magaya is probably not the last of these "miracle" AIDS cure explorers.
"Walter Magaya's claim is not the first that has led fake prophets, congregations, and traditional healers to find a cure," Rusike said, adding that even people like Benjamin Burombo were not eligible for an AIDS remedy.
Citizens Health Watch's Fungisayi Dube said that the fight against HIV took too long and "the desperation associated with HIV-positive has made many people gullible for everything that promises them a life without the virus."
Another herb that turned out to be just a fable was Epikaizo (it apparently means the shadow of God). It was claimed that it inhibited and eliminated the viral antigen. The Standard visited the offices of alternative medicine distributors (AlMed Pharm) in Harare's suburb of Greendale.
The "miracle drug" was $ 120 for one month.
"After full treatment, a once HIV-positive patient will perform a negative test, and this condition is referred to as" remission. " Read part of the leaflet.
However, the regulator said Almed had jumped the gun by selling the drug first, without going through the standard testing procedures.
"Treatment literacy is an option as well as the opening up of research. Make it easy for people to bring ideas and innovation. Create a fair space for testing so people do not feel left out, "said Dube.
She also recommended setting up laboratories to provide more opportunities for clinical trials. "We have to demystify the field of medicine by opening up spaces," she said.
Rusike called on the government to continue its efforts to ensure that people with HIV and AIDS have access to social services. He also said that an intensive information, education and communication campaign on HIV and AIDS should be launched involving all sectors.
"There is still no cure for AIDS, and if a person of great power and influence is claimed otherwise, human health is at risk," Rusike said.
Richard Rukwata, Head of Licensing and Enforcement at the Zimbabwe Medicines Regulatory Commission (MCAZ), said the biggest challenge was that the people of Zimbabwe were too eager to try everything anyone could do to cure any disease was offered.
"Unfortunately, there are many victims of such practices. There are many cases of kidney failure as a result of toxicity due to the use of unauthorized herbal products. Unfortunately, when these worsen, these patients are hospitalized, but for some, it is too late, as kidney damage is often irreversibly fatal, "he said.
Rukwata said the process of authorizing supplemental medicines involved submitting an application with the required documentation, as required by the relevant regulation.
"It will also be necessary to submit samples of the product, which will be analyzed by the authority's laboratories, depending on the content," he said. "Only when all these procedures have been followed and the Authority is satisfied that the product is not harmful and of good quality is the marketing authorization for a complementary medicinal product granted."
The registration processes for products claiming to cure a particular condition are quite strict. Any product for which a cure is requested undergoes a rigorous review and analysis process that requires extensive clinical data to demonstrate efficacy. Consequently, these products are not registered as complementary drugs but as allopathic drugs.
"It is important to know that the current regulatory framework for complementary medicines does not allow claims to be made because such products do not require efficacy data," said Rukwata.
Rukwata said that so far there are no herbal products for the treatment of HIV, which have been approved by the authority.