Dr. Richard Fru, Executive Director of the Garden of Eden Naturopathic Institute of West Africa (GENIWA), headquartered in Buea and an ardent advocate of traditional medicine, has called on the Government of Cameroon, to recommend Anti-Oxy-Toxin (AOT),a powdered drug produced by his institute for public use against the pandemic HIV/AIDS. He has also publicly invited renowned research centers that are interested to put to test the effectiveness of AOT. Dr.Fru made the call, December 2, on the occasion of the 2013 Word Aids Day, in an interview with The Recorder. Excerpts:
Dr. Fru, how did the Garden of Eden Naturopathic Institute of West Africa (GENIWA), celebrate the 2013 World AIDS Day?
In the past the Garden used to organize free screening for people to know their HIV status, public educational talks and even give traditional medicines to patients. But this year, we decided to remain silent as way to protest against the poor treatment given traditional health practitioners by the Government of Cameroon. We are not happy with the way Government is handling issues concerning traditional medicine.
We have been doing a lot following the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) for traditional health practitioners to be fully involved in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. But it is unfortunate that Cameroon, which is a signatory to the WHO, has not honored the call for our active involvement in this fight.
Could you elaborate on your unhappiness with the Government?
|Dr. Fru displays his Health Excellence Award from India|
Of course, the treatment given us is very poor and suspicious. The campaign against traditional health practitioners started when the Ministry of Communication banned not only the advertisement of traditional medicines but even our health educational messages.
I strongly think that if Government had good intention, it would have banned only the advertisement of our medicines as it says drugs are not legally required to be advertised in the country, and not educative/informative health messages.
I was embarrassed when a member of the National Communication Council was questioned on a radio programme whether health education campaign by traditional doctors is considered advertising and he answered in the affirmative, adding that, on grounds that the traditional doctor’s name is mentioned. There is that need to differentiate advertisement from health educational talk or messages.
One is even supposed to be paid going on air to educate the public. But some of us do it free of charge.Yet, authorities don’t want it done.
I strongly hold that the government services claiming to regulate the traditional medicine are not doing so in good faith.
Despite all letters my organization has sent to the National Communication Council(NCC), asking it to advise us on how to use the media to better educate the public on health issues, it has not replied even one.
If the Government is cracking down on traditional medicine reportedly because of charlatanism in the practice, there are some of us who, in addition to inspiration, have received formal training on what we do and have professional /academic qualifications to be recognized as doctors.Therefore, we should be given the right to address the public on health issues, for health is wealth and we want Cameroonians to be healthy all the times.
I know that just like many other Cameroonians, you are aware that Dr. Fru is winner of multiple awards for research in traditional medicine. For example, I was recently awarded the International Health Excellence Award by the Renowned Indian Board of Alternative Medicines for my “outstanding contribution and praiseworthy achievement in the field of holistic health and healing” by the renowned Indian Board of Alternative Medicines.”
You must have also learnt that the I was conferred the academic/professional title of “ Doctor of Naturopathy” by the INDIAN BOARD OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINES, after the completion of an academic course and research in natural medicine.
We suspect some hidden hands are influencing Government to frustrate traditional medicine in Cameroon. When we try to find out from some authorities, they tell us how they think the media is exploiting. But Traditional health practitioners have never complained that the media is exploiting us. Why can’t they come out clearly to say they are fighting against traditional medicine, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 80% of Africans depend on it for their health care. Why are they hiding behind the media to fight us?
There is a wise saying that if you want to bring down a man, stop him from talking. In this present world, the media is the mouthpiece of the society; it is the vehicle that carries the end product from the shelves of the manufacturer to the consumer. Therefore, stopping us from talking through the media is considered as an abuse of human rights and as a well calculated plan to suppress the growth of traditional medicine in the country by rival groups.
What is your appeal now to the Government concerning your medicines produced by your institute to check HIV/AIDS?
I am calling on the government to promote our medicines and even subsidize their production for the welfare of Cameroonians, especially Anti-Oxy-Toxin (AOT), which is, I am convinced, is an effective cure against HIV/AIDS, and many other viral infections.
You would recall that when I programmed the launch of this medicine (AOT) in May 2011, the Government suddenly banned it on the eve of the event, reportedly by instruction from hierarchy.
But over the years we have been using AOT, successfully, to treat and cure patients. The medicine has proven beyond reasonable doubts that it is effective for the treatment of not only HIV/AIDS but other complex diseases such as hepatitis B and C, herpes simplex viral infections, toxoplasmosis, and many others. Laboratory results even from the most renown and trusted hospitals in the country stand as prove to justify the veracity of our claim!
I want to use this medium to also call on renowned health research institutions that are interested to put to test the effectiveness of AOT to come in, for we are open to all those who come in good faith.