, 04 April, 2020 / 7:08 AM
As governments across the globe battle to contain the spread of COVID-19 with medical researchers working around the clock to find a cure, a Cameroonian Catholic Archbishop who has practiced herbalism over the years has said that medicinal plants can be tried as a possible cure of the coronavirus.
“It should be noted that the majority of those affected by this pandemic are those who are already weakened by other diseases. However, our plants strengthen the immune system and cure many diseases,” Archbishop Samuel Kleda told journalists at a press briefing in Cameroon’s economic capital, Douala Tuesday, April 1.
“I am convinced that traditional medicine can fight Corona Virus,” Archbishop Kleda added and explained in reference to medicinal plants, “If we put them to work, we would save lives in our country. So, let's get to work and use our plants.”
The Archbishop of Douala has practiced herbalism and prescribed traditional medicine from plants to sick people in Douala and other parts of the Central African nation.
“Traditional African recipes exist and protection systems based on our plants have proven their effectiveness for centuries,” the 61-year-old Prelate testified.
He told journalists that “garlic, onion, ginger and many other plants can be used effectively in this fight against CoronaVirus” since they boost one’s immunity and emphasized, “Let's get to work.”
The Archbishop’s proposal comes at a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed its desire to see more African countries participate in a global study of four potential COVID-19 treatments.
The Central African nation has reported at least 284 cases of COVID-19; six people have died and 10 have recovered from the disease.
Archbishop Kleda has called on specialists in traditional African medicine to make use of the therapeutic wealth of various medicinal plants on the continent to find a way of curing COVID-19 “effectively.”
The Wednesday press briefing gave the Local Ordinary of Douala the opportunity to acknowledge the measures the government of his country had put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We reiterate the importance, for each and every one, to scrupulously follow the rules prescribed by the Government, in order to block the way to the spread of this pandemic in our country in general, and in our city of Douala in particular,” he said and added, “Each of us must understand that it is time to protect ourselves and our neighbors.”
He went on to outline what the Catholic Church in Douala has been doing saying, “Over the past two weeks, we have carried out a number of actions ranging from raising awareness, through pastoral letters, to prayers for those affected by Coronavirus, as well as for all those who have lost their lives as a result of this pandemic. We are continuing our mission in this movement. Let us remain in prayer for the Lord's protection.”
The Cameroonian Archbishop also disclosed that the decision to suspend the public celebrations of the Eucharist was not an easy one.
“It is a situation that is extremely painful for us. And I can confide to you that I have never suffered so much in my life, to see, from my window, the faithful wandering every day in the courtyard of the Cathedral, without being able to take part in the Mass,” the Archbishop bemoaned.
“Unfortunately, there is no other more effective way to combat the spread of the Virus. Moreover, this measure is a matter of pastoral responsibility and moral duty,” he said and added, “The Coronavirus must not pass through us. We must do everything possible to protect our brothers and sisters. It is, moreover, an application of the law of love which the Lord asks us to practice. Therefore, we have an obligation to protect the lives of the faithful; we must not put their lives in danger.”
The Archbishop also acknowledged with appreciation the team of priests that has been touring the city of Douala with the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of Cameroon, to seek her maternal protection during these difficult times.
“Let us remain in prayer because we believe in God,” Archbishop Kleda said and concluded referencing God, “may He welcome the souls of those who have died from this virus; may He console the afflicted families; may He heal all those affected; may He enlighten our Governors; may He assist and protect the medical staff; may He deliver us from this pandemic.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa