No aid dollars? AIDS and Natural Medicine

I just read that Canada suspended a $14.5 million aid program to Zambia’s Health Ministry, after a major corruption scandal was uncovered in their health department. Canada was only one of several donor countries that blocked funding.
Half of Zambia’s health budget comes from foreign aid. Zambia now reports that “many patients in remote areas are no longer receiving AIDS medicine because of the suspended aid”. (Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail, November 5, 2010).
Immediately three of my African friends come to mind, which need those ARV’s (antiretroviral drugs) to stay healthy and alive. What will they do if they lose access to free drugs?

Moringa trees flourish before the Dawn Trust Community Center which counsels AIDS patients.

Moringa trees flourish before the Dawn Trust Community Center which counsels AIDS patients.

There is an answer for them, at least a partial answer. Last year we visited Hedwig Mueller, a German missionary working at Dawn Trust Community Center in Ndola, Zambia. She believes strongly that herbal ‘ARV’s’ can be almost or as effective as drug ARVs. In fact, many patients are not able to start the drugs at first because of their strong side effects. The herbs and better nutrition often give their bodies the ability to handle the ARVs (which Hedwig would never counsel against).

The herbs Hedwig uses can grow in any Zambian’s back yard – Artemisia Annua (a hybrid of the Artemisia plant which is also used to control and cure malaria and is a very strong immune system booster), Moringa (a tree whose leaves are a powerhouse of nutrition) and lemon grass or garlic.

I myself read about these plants in one of the brochures published by Anamed – “Natural Medicine in the Tropics IV – AIDS and Natural Medicine” (by Hans-Martin Hirt, Keith Lindsey and Innocent Balagizi). On the Anamed website (www.anamed.net), it is stressed that AIDS cannot be healed with natural medicine. They write, “However, our partners in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and an increasing number of other countries are showing very clearly that, with the right herbal treatments, very ill people can find their strength again and continue to lead very active lives.”

When faced with the option of no drugs or herbs that can potentially give you your strength again (and Hedwig would testify that it is so), it’s not hard to know what to do.

Hedwig Müller shows us her solar dryer filled with artemesia leaves.

Hedwig Müller shows us her solar dryer filled with artemesia leaves.

Anamed is holding its first Zambian training seminar in Natural Medicine in Ndola, close to where our friends are, January 9-16, 2011. Anamed is an international organization that takes the science of natural medicine very seriously. They work closely with the University of Tuebingen, Germany. So I feel confident that the information is sound.

I so hoped I could take part. But we won’t be able to leave early enough. I do plan to take the short version in Germany in early February. And then I plan to make sure my friends know they have an option if drugs are no longer available!
If you know someone in the healthcare profession in Zambia, you might want to pass this information on to them!

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