The African Scientific Research and Innovation Council (ASRIC) has said that it will adopt Afrocentric approaches to the fight against emerging infectious diseases such as coronavirus and has set up a working group on Africa’s indigenous knowledge on emerging infectious diseases.The Chairman of ASRIC, Prof. Ratemo Michieka, said on Thursday in Abuja that the Council’s aim was to develop traditional medicine intervention to the pandemic and posting community prevention measures.
“We at ASRIC acknowledge what is going on globally in terms of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, hence we are doing our possible best in utilising available resource at our disposal to safeguard and protect the continent against COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
He said the working committee, which comprises ASRIC bureau members, would utilise Africa’s indigenous knowledge and leverage its ethno-geographical and abundant cultural characteristics.
Michieka added that this would be achieved through a comprehensive research and development programme.
“This programme aims at the development of traditional medicine intervention to the pandemic and posting community prevention measures,” he said.
He noted that in addition to the working group, ASRIC has also set up an Advisory Board on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) intervention for COVID-19.
“These boards are to advise and guide ASRIC’s intervention in the pandemic through formulating policies/guidelines, research and development plans and activities.
“It emphasises the need for getting the right diagnosis, therapy, and vaccines among others.
“They are also looking at the needs of hospitals in terms of development or improvement of equipment like testing kits, ventilators, protective gears and other equipment that can be acquired,” he said.
He disclosed that ASRIC has also set-up other working groups to study the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 and also monitor its impact on Africa’s food and nutritional security.
According to him, ASRIC is working to ensure the well-being of Africans and how to ameliorate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the lives of people already burdened with other diseases.
He added that non-pharmaceutical interventions for containment of the disease such as self-isolation when sick, social distancing, lockdown among others, are not enough if there is no vaccine.