Tanzania Health Minister promotes herbal concoction, steam inhalation over covid vaccines
London, Feb. 2, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Tanzania Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima has said the East Africa nation has no plans to import Covid-19 vaccines at a time when the US Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised against all travel to Tanzania.
Her comment comes a week after President John Magufuli warned health officials against acquiring coronavirus vaccines, saying – without giving evidence – that they could harm the population.
“For now the government has no plans to receive the Covid vaccine being distributed in other countries,” Dr Gwajima said.
Last month the World Health Organization (WHO) urged Tanzania to consider inoculating its population.
Like the president, Tanzania health Minister urged Tanzanians to take precautions and to use traditional medicine, including steam inhalation, as a way of dealing with coronavirus.
A blogger has shared photos of Dr Gwajima and other officials inhaling steam and taking a herbal concoction:View more on TwitterView more on twitter
Waziri wa Afya, Dk. Dorothy Gwajima na naibu wake, Dk. Godwin Mollel, wakinywa dawa ya asili pamoja na kujifukiza mbele ya waandishi wa habari jijini Dodoma Jumatatu 01 Februari 2021, wamewahamasisha wananchi kutumia tiba mbadala ili kukabiliana na magonjwa mbalimbali. pic.twitter.com/oOklD2qN94— Haki Ngowi (@Hakingowi) February 1, 2021
Dr Gwajima also warned media outlets not to report unofficial information on coronavirus or any disease.
Her warning comes after the Catholic Church said last week that it had observed an increase in requiem masses – blaming funerals on a spike in coronavirus infections.
Tanzania is one of the few countries in the world not to publish any data on coronavirus cases – last doing so in May.
BBC health reporters say vaccines are rigorously tested in trials involving thousands of people before being assessed by regulators, who look at all the data on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines before approving them for use on a wider population with the aim of saving lives
Meanwhile, the US Canters for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised against all travel to Tanzania.
The health agency has updated Tanzania’s alert to level four, meaning transmission of coronavirus is “high or rising rapidly”.
Forty-one African countries have been listed in level four, the highest category of alert.
“Travellers should avoid all travel to Tanzania. Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” part of the advisory says.
It has also told those intending to travel to the East African nation to have a Covid-19 test at least 72 hours before their departure or arrival.
“During travel, wear a mask, stay at least six feet away from people who are not travelling with you, wash your hands often or use hand sanitiser, and watch your health for signs of illness,” the advisory added.
President John Magufuli continues to urge Tanzanians to take precautions against Covid-19, the latest cases of which he blames on travellers bringing it into the country, and has cautioned against taking Covid-19 vaccines.
Tanzania last shared data on Covid-19 with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Africa CDC in May 2020.