COVID-19 in Retrospect: Drug R&D and Traditional Medicine in Africa

11 June 2021 @ 14:00 - 17:00


June 11, 2021
02:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Online via Zoom:
Event Type:


Adedamola Adetiba

Among several lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic in African is the urgency and necessity of improved health infrastructure to cater for emergencies now and in the near future. The marginalization faced by African states in the Covid-19 vaccine procurement and distribution framework (COVAX) shows without a doubt that solutions to enormous health challenges lie in home-grown initiatives. Such would take cognisance of the comparative advantage of the continent in the global medical marketplace as home to a diversity of pharmacologies and traditional healing epistemes. Such initiatives would have to break boundaries set by colonial and global health regimes by revealing alternative modernities that are alive outside mainstream public health discourses. This call is more critical because historically, Africans are generally medical pluralists. The rancours that accompanied the announcement of a potential cure to the Covid-19  virus reveals the huddles African pharmacologies would surmount before living up to full potentials on a  continent that houses most of the world’s vulnerable populations. Furthermore, it also provides a case study of what happens to traditional medicine when encountered through a Western-driven global health frame.  In this colloquium, our panelists will assess the resilience of traditional medicine in the contemporary global health framework and create a platform to discuss alternative pathways of authenticating African herbs and knowledge claims without necessarily compromising population safety.  


Prof David Ramanitrahasimbola (Head, Department of Pharmacy, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar)

Dr Rebecca Marsland (Senior Lecturer, Social Anthropology, Edinburgh University, United Kingdom) 

Reverend Father Anselm Adodo (Founder, Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories and the Africa Centre for Integral Research and Development (OFIRDI), Ewu-Esan, Nigeria) 

Opening remarks by Prof Enocent Msindo (Director, African Studies Centre, Rhodes University, RSA)

Moderator: Dr Adedamola Adetiba (African Studies Centre, Rhodes University, RSA)

Funded by: Open Society of Southern Africa (OSISA)


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