Updated March 4, 2021, 6:48 p.m.
- Tanzania relies on herbal cures and prayers against Corona. The President rejects vaccinations.
- Allegedly there are no acute cases in the country.
- Meanwhile, experts warn of mutations.
Many countries around the world are waiting for more vaccine against the coronavirus – except Tanzania: The country with around 60 million inhabitants describes itself as free of corona and has rejected foreign vaccine.
According to official information, there are only 509 confirmed corona cases with a total of 21 deaths in the African country. However, this is also due to the fact that Tanzania has not reported any figures since May 2020. In June, at a church service, President John Magufuli claimed to have cleared the country of the virus through a three-day prayer marathon.
No vaccines from abroad
Overall, the government is taking a different course than most other countries when it comes to dealing with Corona: After there was initially a lockdown from March 2020, from which churches were excluded, President Magufuli opened schools and universities again in June. Since then there have been virtually no restrictions. If corona cases should occur, according to the president, they must be foreigners who had carried the virus into the country.
Despite claims that the country is free of Corona, reports of infections are piling up from hospitals. Doctors are said to have been encouraged to register cases of COVID-19 as viral pneumonia or breathing difficulties.
The American embassy, however, warns unusually clearly that the risk of contracting the corona virus is extremely high in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in the country. The hospitals are overcrowded.
Almost no restrictions in tourism
Concerns about the economy are also likely to play a role when dealing with the virus in Tanzania, especially with a view to tourism: For example, foreign tourists are allowed to travel to the popular island of Zanzibar with almost no restrictions. Only their temperature is measured at the airport, but with unclear consequences. Many airlines now require a negative corona test when leaving Tanzania.
However, there have always been cases in which people who supposedly tested negative were later tested positive, according to the Foreign Office, for example when changing or entering their home country. Great Britain has already banned entry to people who were previously in Zanzibar, and many other states are warning against traveling there.
Vaccines are said to have been dangerous and a papaya tested positive
Not only that there are supposedly no corona cases in Tanzania: The president recently also rejected vaccines from abroad because they are dangerous. If white people were able to make vaccines, they would have developed vaccines against AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and cancer, he said. Tanzania has already lived with the virus for a year because God helped and, according to the politician, Satan will always fail.
Magufuli had already spoken out against corona tests in the past. He described them as unreliable and reported that he had tested a goat and a papaya, among other things. For both he received a positive result. However, he did not provide any sources or evidence.
Herbs are said to protect against the virus
Health Minister Dorothy Gwajimadie also recently appeared on television in Tanzania. She created a drink from ginger, lemon and pepper, which she recommended to viewers as a very effective agent against COVID-19, according to the “BBC”. She also inhaled herbal fumes.
Instead of relying on the international vaccination program, the government has ordered an herbal drink based on Artemisia from Madagascar. There is evidence that the substance works against malaria. However, it has not yet been clinically tested against COVID-19.
The population is inadequately protected
Experts around the world are concerned about what will happen if Tanzania continues to refuse the vaccination program. Catherine Kyobutungi, head of the African Population and Health Research Center, points out that the population is inadequately protected and, above all, threatens people who work in the health sector. It is also extremely difficult to get the pandemic in the neighboring countries of Tanzania under control, as there are hardly any border controls.
Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of the Regional Office of the World Health Organization for Africa, has therefore called on Tanzania to provide data on Corona, to use the vaccination program and to pay more attention to the protection of the population.
Worry about mutations
There is also a danger that a new variant of the virus could emerge in Tanzania: the more frequently the virus spreads, the greater the likelihood that mutations will occur. These can be harmless, but can also mean that vaccines do not work well enough or people who have already been sick can be re-infected.
Incidentally, recently President Magufuli recommended wearing masks – not because of Corona, but to protect yourself against other respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis. The Ministry of Health is now advising this – in addition to spiritual healing methods and traditional medicine.
- World Health Organization: United Republic of Tanzania Situation
- Africanews: Tanzania minister: No interest in procuring COVID-19 vaccines
- U.S. Embassy in Tanzania: Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam
- Coronavirus in Tanzania: The country that’s rejecting the vaccine
- Rick Sheridan: Does Madagascar’s herbal remedy, COVID-Organics work? Flavonoid antiviral inhibitory studies of SARS-CoV-2
- Federal Foreign Office: Tanzania: Travel and safety information (COVID-19-related travel warning)
- The United Republic of Tanzania: Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Tanzania Covid-19 Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility Project
- Twitter account of Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of the Regional Office of the World Health Organization for Africa
- Catherine Kyobutungi, Leiterin des African Population and Health Research Center, zu Covid-19 und der Situation in Tansania: Tanzania Isn’t Vaccinating Against COVID-19. What Does That Mean for the World?
- Quartz Africa: Tanzania’s president is blaming the sharp rise of coronavirus cases on faulty testing kits
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