As many adolescents of my generation are aware, AIDS is a very serious disease that affects people on a global level. However, HIV/AIDS has proved most serious and prevalent in Africa. Currently, Nigeria has the second highest number of AIDS cases in the world so, understandably, finding a cure or any type of remedy to at least alleviate some of the suffering caused by the disease is in high demand. Since many Africans are very poor, some living on less than one dollar a day, many Africans have begun to look to local medicine men for medical treatment including HIV/AIDS treatment. Nigerians are no exception to this trend and one Nigerian medicine man in particular named Baba Chukuri claims he can in fact cure AIDS. While there is no scientific evidence that his “recipes” of herbs, roots, and barks will cure AIDS, many ailing Africans have travelled great distances to seek his medical care. However, as Chukuri himself divulges, his medicines cost a lot less than a trip to the hospital which may be one reason for his blossoming practice.
Before totally denouncing Chukuri as a charlatan, it should be mentioned that Nigeria’s Institute for Pharmaceutical Research (NIPR) has begun to study the effects of the recipes made by Chukuri and other medicine men. Dr. Uford Inyang, NIPR’s Director General says, "On HIV, we've screened over 100 medicinal plants, out of which 10, 12, have seen a great deal of activity as anti-viral agent," Often these plants serve to help physicians and researchers develop new drugs. The NIPR is currently developing treatments for Tuberculosis, malaria, and an “immune booster” for AIDS patients through the use of the modern lab in tandem with local herbal gardens. In sum, I think the prospect of developing any disease treatment within African is exciting and would help bolster the economy and probably the morale of African people. Since, according to popular theory, HIV/AIDS developed from SIV in Africa, why shouldn’t the remedy for the disease be in Africa as well? If you would like to read the CNN article I referred to for this post, here’s the link: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/02/06/nigeria.medicine/index.html