Clash over Ivermectin use against COVID-19

The saying that desperate times calls for desperate measures is not just a saying but a reality currently in Botswana. With the overly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, the question is “Should we consider the use of Ivermectin or not?”

Several Members of Parliament has called on to the overwhelmed Ministry of Health and Wellness to consider the use of ivermectin for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. On the other hand the Botswana Medicines Regultory Authority (BoMRA) holds a different view to that regard.

With the limited resources and Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) vaccines crisis, Wynter Mmolotsi, the Member of Parliament for Francistown South believes the time has come to put ivermectin to use.

On his plea to President Masisi, Mmolotsi cried out, “On Friday, I asked the Minister of Health to consider facilitating BOMRA to list Ivemectin as one of the drugs allowed in the fight against Covid 19. The Minister insists that it has to go through some clinical trials before it can be used. I refuse to accept that reason because the Vaccines that we received did not go through the same route, we just believed what we were told by the outside world. We are also informed that ivemectin has helped so many people elsewhere and it is a drug that has been used for many years. Why should we wait for clinical trials when our people are perishing? The vaccines are taking too long but Ivemectin is available and safe. It is used in SA, Zimbabwe, India, Israel etc with some notable success and it is a very cheap drug. We cannot wait for 2022 for the people to have been vaccinated because by then half of the population would have succumbed to Covid. Please Mr President do something before we all perish. These are extra ordinary times requiring extra ordinary interventions. Covid is now everywhere, the health system is overwhelmed, mortuaries are full and families are depressed. Doctors are dying with anxiety to be allowed to use Ivemectin because they say it works. We cant wait longer for clinical trials to be done when people are dying. Life has become so uncertain and we dont talk about the future anymore. We are crying, we need immediate help. We are burying loved ones everyday of the week and it is now scary.”

Product Evaluation and Registration Director, Dr Nkaleng Modutlwa of BoMRA has warned against the use of Ivermectin until the necessary tests have been made and are endorsed by the authority and the health ministry. However, Ivermectin has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ivermectin has been in use for years now, it was discovered in the 1970s and was approved in 1990s.

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