By Robert Tapfumaneyi
AN anti-parasite drug, Ivermectin, has not been banned in the country and is being allowed for individual Covid-19 applications, acting health ministry secretary Robert Mudyiradima has said.
However, he said its use remained limited until clinical trials were completed.
“Its widespread use is limited until clinical trials underway to prove its efficacy in treating Covid-19 patients are proven,” said Mudyiradima.
He said this while appearing before the parliamentary portfolio health committee in a virtual hearing Monday.
Mudyiradima added the novel therapeutics for Covid-19 treatment such as the Zumbani herbal plant, steaming and Ivermectin are still being studied for their efficacy in the treatment of coronavirus.
“Scientifically, all the treatment that are being done includes Zumbani, steaming and Ivermectin. Yes, we know Ivermectin has not been registered but like you see we have not gone out and banned it,” he told the committee members.
“Ivermectin is being allowed into the country for individual applications and these then are monitored to see how it is performing. So all treatments that are undergoing research to see how they perform we have not really stopped any on controlled trials.”
Recently, business executives and employers appealed to the government to authorise the use of Ivermectin for Covid-19 prevention and treatment arguing from evidence available, it had shown the drug can reduce the need for hospitalisation as it shortens healing time.
Last week, a controversial Harare-based doctor, Jack Stone came under fire for advocating off-label therapies she was offering to patients despite lack of clinical evidence and certainty around the drugs’ effects and outcome.
Fellow doctors accused Stone for taking advantage of her patients’ anxiety and vulnerable situation to promote panic and utilisation of a non-evidence based treatment regime.
“Her actions have engendered a widespread belief that the health system is withholding treatment from communities,” said the specialists.
The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) was forced to issue a statement dismissing Stone’s operation as illegal saying she did not have a valid operating certificate and the premises at which she was treating Covid-19 patients were not registered for purposes of medical operations and posed a health risk to the public.