, 29 April, 2020 / 3:15 AM
A Cameroonian Archbishop known for his practice of herbalism is receiving unprecedented public attention in his country, including being sought after by mainstream media in the Central African nation over COVID-19 intervention. Here is why.
In the last couple of days, Archbishop Samuel Kleda has been given extensive media visibility in Cameroon with regard to his administering of herbal medicine to COVID-19 patients, including interviews with State-owned media outlets that have largely ignored him in the past following his stance on good governance, transparent elections and the defense of the poor and downtrodden.
Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Cameroon’s Douala Archdiocese who has practiced herbalism for over 30 years announced Saturday, April 25 that some staff of the Diocesan health services who tested positive for the COVID-19 pandemic recovered after taking the herbal medicine he came up with and offered to them free of charge.
Since then, a number of media outlets in the country have sought after him, giving the 61-year-old Prelate unprecedented media visibility.
On April 25, government-owned Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) interviewed the Archbishop during its Primetime news, hailing him for bringing hope to patients of COVID-19 and terming his herbal medicine "a great contribution in the fight against the pandemic."
“With 30 years of medicinal plant research experience, my focus over these years has been the herbal treatment of ailments affecting the respiratory system, just like the dreaded Coronavirus does,” Archbishop Kleda told CRTV during the April 25 primetime interview.
He added, “Given that I already knew the plants according to the symptoms of the Coronavirus, I have simply put together these combinations, prepared them and given them to persons with the symptoms and they were relieved.”
He cautioned, “We need to be very careful; I am not implying I found a cure for the Coronavirus. Before affirming such, thorough studies need to be carried out and persons who took the medicine examined to be sure it kills the virus.”
Nevertheless, he added in reference to the health care workers, “they will continue to administer the treatment to patients who will present themselves at the Caritas head office in the Archdiocese of Douala.”
Monday, April 27, Cameroon’s leading English Bi-weekly, The Post carried the headline, “Cameroon, Madagascar lead in herbal treatment as Archbishop Kleda’s concoction and Madagascar’s COVID-organics prove potent.”
Cameroon’s English Daily The Guardian Post and The Sun Newspaper also carried reports on the Archbishop of Douala discovering a “cure” for COVID-19 in their Monday, April 27 publications.
Top private Douala-based Television channels, Canal 2 International and Equinox TV aired interviews with Archbishop Kleda on his COVID-19 treatment on Sunday, April 26.
The national daily Cameroon Tribune presented to the public the therapy of the Local Ordinary of Douala saying it is a “great contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in the country.”
Apart from the extensive media coverage, Archbishop Kleda has also been receiving recognition from top political figures in the Central African nation and on social media.
Top opposition leader Maurice Kamto has congratulated the Archbishop for his medicinal concoction against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and has urged his team of Cameroon Survival Initiative to work closely with the Prelate in order to make the medicine available to the public.
“Maurice Kamto congratulates Archbishop Samuel Kleda for his efforts and his drug against COVID-19, which should be a source of national pride, as it is the case in other African countries,” the Cameroon opposition leader stated in a message issued Monday, April 27.
“Maurice KAMTO, urges the leadership of SCSI (Cameroon Survival Initiative) to get closer to Archbishop Samuel Kleda, to know more and consider what help could be given to him in order to make this remedy available to the greatest number of patients of COVID-19,” the political leader urged in his message.
On his part, Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie who is leading the fight against COVID-19 in the country, has sent a team of doctors to work with Archbishop Kleda.
“I have just talked to the Archbishop this afternoon for a team led by the Director of Pharmacy to travel to Douala to evaluate his process and accompany him at all levels,” Dr Manaouda posted in a Tweet.
With over 3 million people having contracted COVID-19 across the globe, there is currently no treatment specifically approved for this virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), treatments and vaccines are currently under study. In the care for COVID-19 patients, medical practitioners have focused on managing symptoms as the virus runs its course.
Over 900,000 patients have recovered from COVID-19 across the globe.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cameroon reached 1,705 Monday, April 27 with 805 recoveries and 58 deaths, according to worldometers.
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