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Should Loliondo drug be abolished.?

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Denzel Musumba

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The frenzy over the “wonder drug” being dispensed by a retired pastor in Loliondo, Tanzania, could hurt the progress made in the fight against TB and Aids, says a Cabinet minister. Public Health minister Beth Mugo said on Monday claims that the traditional herb cures chronic diseases called for thorough investigation. Speaking to East African health ministers, she said: “The region should explore faith healing vis-a-vis the potential to undermine public health gains.” She was speaking during the 6th Ordinary Meeting of the East African Community Sectoral Council of the Ministers of Health that ended in Bujumbura, Burundi, at the weekend. A week ago, Mrs Mugo called for the arrest of the Rev Ambilikile Mwasapile who has been dispensing a herbal drug to sick people from across the region, including Kenya. Cheating the public She declared her intention to ask her Tanzanian counterpart to have the activities of the cleric-turned-healer halted on grounds he could be cheating the public. During the Bujumbura meeting, Mrs Mugo emphasised the need to fast-track the capacity of African countries to manufacture health products locally through investing in research and development. She said members of the regional community should be encouraged to embrace the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Initiative, affirming it would provide a solution in research and development. Mrs Mugo was widely criticised in Tanzania for her remarks against the Rev Mwasapile. Her critics include Kenyans who have trooped to the remote Samunge Village in Ngorongoro in search of a cure for chronic ailments. (READ: Thousands scramble for ‘miracle’ drink) Tanzania’s deputy minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Lucy Nkya, assured the health ministers that her government had the Loliondo phenomenon under control. “We have put in place mechanisms to ensure adherence to prescribed medication regimes,” she said, according to a press statement issued in Arusha.

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