Madagascar on Sunday reported the first coronavirus death, almost two months after the virus was first detected in the country, reported Reuters.
The country’s national COVID-19 taskforce revealed that the patient who died of the virus was a 57-year-old medical worker who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure before he was infected. He was a car park attendant at a hospital in the eastern city of Toamasina.
Taskforce spokeswoman Hanta Danielle Vololontiana said in a televised statement that the man had passed away on the night of Saturday, May 16.
“A man died from COVID-19 in Madagascar … he is 57 years old and a member of the medical staff,” she said.
Madagascar has reported 304 coronavirus cases so far. Since the virus emerged in Wuhan, China last December, it has spread to 188 countries and regions.
The death comes after President Andry Rajoelina launched a home-grown herbal concoction, known as Covid-Organics, that is touted to cure people infected with the virus. Several African countries have ordered or expressed interest in the herbal medicine and even received consignments of it.
The herbal drink is derived from artemisia — a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment — and other indigenous herbs. It was launched as after being tested on fewer than 20 people over a period of three weeks.
But the World Health Organization has warned against the use of the herbal concotion without any medical supervision and cautioned against self-medication. It claimed that the use of products that have not been scientifically tested could put people’s lives in danger.
Last week, the WHO said it is in touch with Madagascar over its herbal drink.
”We have offered to support the design of a study to look into this product [Covid Organics],” Matshidiso Moeti, the regional director of WHO office in Africa, told a media briefing.