A Facebook post (see the screenshot below as well) was shared with claims that elephant dung is on sale as a COVID-19 remedy, at a place called Rundu.
Rundu is the capital of the Kavango-East Region in northern Namibia, on the border with Angola.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there have been numerous claims of spurious remedies. In India for instance, there were claims that cow dung and urine could cure the virus, a claim that has already been debunked.
Elephant dung is commonly used as a traditional medicine to ward off evil spirits and treat various ailments. Among these uses listed by Africa Geographic include use as a mild painkiller, remedy for a bleeding nose, and as mosquito repellant.
Namibia has so far recorded 4665 positive cases of COVID-19, 39 deaths and 2426 recoveries.
From various reports from a Google search for the keywords “Elephant dung and COVID-19”, it is true that the dung sale is taking place in Namibia, after being touted as a COVID-19 remedy.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in Namibia, Romeo Muyunda, was quoted by The Namibian newspaper saying the government was aware of the increased demand for elephant dung which is now being sold on social media.
“We have seen on social media people selling elephant dung for exorbitant prices. There is a whole hype around it. Before, it wasn’t even sold. It was used domestically by people for certain illnesses as one of those traditional medicines. If it was sold, it was rare,” he said.
“So far there is no cure for Covid-19. If anybody claims as such, it must be treated as a false claim,” Shangula said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also warned against false reports about a “cure”, saying it is “coordinating efforts to develop and evaluate medicines to treat Covid-19”.
Though elephant dung has uses in traditionally for medicinal purposes, there is no scientific evidence that it can cure COVID-19, making the claim FALSE.