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’Mr President, people are dying’: Doctors plead with Ramaphosa to review Ivermectin

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 15, 2021


A petition has been signed by close to 100 South African healthcare professionals appealing to President Cyril Ramphosa to set up an urgent special council to conduct a rapid review of the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin.

A general practitioner from Durban, Dr Naseeba Kathrada, penned a heartfelt letter to the president, saying that healthcare workers and the people of South Africa are “exhausted and helpless” now during the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Kathrada says that new scientific data is emerging daily showing the promise of Ivermectin. He implored the president to legalise Ivermectin, saying “trust us, the health professionals who are the most vulnerable against this disease, to dispense Ivermectin with informed consent”.

The product is used for the treatment and control of parasites in animals and is currently not registered for human use in the country, according to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).

Here is Kathrada’s letter to the President:

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“A plea for hope and trust in these unprecedented times’’.

Honourable President Ramaphosa

My name is Dr Naseeba Kathrada. I am a general practitioner in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

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Mr President, I woke up this morning to the news that we have just experienced our country’s deadliest week with over 20 000 deaths in the past 7 days in this second wave. Mr President, we are living in unprecedented times and right now - families are left shattered by the hour. Morale amongst healthcare workers is the lowest it’s ever been and we on the frontline are exhausted.

You, Mr President have the authority and the ability to give us some hope in this dark hour.

You announced a state of emergency, you authorised the setting up or emergency committees like the NCC and the MAC. We have Covid ‘war rooms’ in every province and you locked down our country to level 3 to save lives and livelihoods.

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You, Honourable President have the authority to set up an urgent special council to do a thorough and rapid review of Ivermectin. Just the announcement of such a council will bring some hope back to families who have infected loved ones. We as frontline workers will be re-energised knowing that you trust us to uphold the oath ‘first do no harm’ by giving us this potent anti-inflammatory drug to add to our seemingly defenceless fight against this new strain.

I fully appreciate the need for a body like SAHPRA, but let’s face it Mr President, they are not the most popular organisation amongst lay people and healthcare workers alike at this point.

Asking for doctors to apply for a section 21 per patient while some of us are seeing over 60 Covid positive cases per day is nothing short of ridiculous. Have you seen that application form Mr President? And now they want each submission to be done via their online portal. These, coupled with a R300 fee per submission, is the reason why no doctors will bother. We just DO NOT have the time !

What about that absurd request to do a trial!

1 - Ivermectin has been around since 1975

2 - It is FDA approved and authorised for human use in many countries around the world

3 - Four countries have now added it to their Covid Treatment protocol

4 - Ivermectin has won the Nobel prize in medicine

5 - Most importantly, Mr President, the logistics of running a trial while 20 000 people are dying in a week is beyond comprehension. There’s no money in running a trial for a refurbished drug, there’s no time to sit and fill in forms per person enrolled in a trial - moreover in full PPE. All this after ethics approval and recruitment etc etc etc

With the black market mushrooming we cannot even dream of doing a placebo controlled trial knowing that candidates who are supposed to be on placebo can buy ivermectin from Justin Casey down the road or from his friend, Al Reddy, and if they don’t have any then Senzo Siza will definitely hook them up.

Mr President, people are dying.

Mr President, families are despondent and hopeless.

Mr President, we are exhausted and helpless.

I am by no means calling Ivermectin a ‘Miracle drug’ - what I am saying is that it is a safe drug - your Urgent Ivermectin Review Committee will attest to that – of that .. I am certain. SAHPRA’s first of 3 pillars is SAFETY.

There are hundreds of studies done already and new data is emerging daily showing the promise of Ivermectin. Your committee can review all this data which is readily and easily available.

There is no need or time for a formal application at this time.

Respected President, I implore you at this time of need, legalise Ivermectin - trust us - the health professionals who are the most vulnerable against this disease - to dispense Ivermectin with informed consent. Give us the freedom of choice to take this drug as prophylaxis so that we have a better chance to be around when the vaccine arrives to help roll that out.

Mr President, you have thousands of astute medical minds working tirelessly for months now - spare a few of them for 24hrs to do an urgent review of Ivermectin

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.

Give hope back to the people who have loved ones infected knowing that there is something more that can be done to save their infected family members who are lonely and alone in overcrowded hospitals.

Give us, the country’s frontline workers and first line of defence your trust. Armour us with this safe drug so that we know that we are doing everything possible to save our patients lives.

Freedom of choice is a democratic right of the people of South Africa

My name is Dr Naseeba Kathrada - Mr President -

On behalf of all those signed in agreement below

I ... Thank You

Dr Naseeba Kathrada - MB.ChB (Natal)

Dr Martin Gill -MBBCh BSc (Med) FCS (orl ) Wits.

Dr Neetu Govender Registered Chiropractor MT Chiro SA

Dr Karla Hechter-Schulz MB ChB. DTMH

Dr Jyothi Sookram MBBCh (wits) BSc Hons(UNP)

Dr R.N.Singh MB ChB. (Natal)

Dr S Mkhize MBChB( Natal) DA(SA) MMed Anaes.

Dr Kevin Naidu MBChB (UNITRA)

Anisa Mosam MBChB, FC Derm, Mmed, PhD ( UKZN)

Dr E Y Vahed MBChB (UKZN)

Velo Govender Social work Private Practitioner (UKZN)

Dr. S. A. Sunichur- MB BS (Utkal)

Dr. Y. Nagdee (MBBCh)

Dr Mahomed I I Moola MBBCh(wits)DCH(SA)DA(SA) FCFP(SA)

Dr C Rughoobeer B Pharm, MB ChB

Dr S.Narraindoo M.B.B.S

Dr Sirini Singh MBChB

Dr Kasthurba Maharaj MBCHB FCPSA

Claire van Staden Registered ICU trained Nurse

Dr Farzana SayedMBBCh (Wits) DipEC DOH

Varsha Soni (UKZN) B Pharm


Dr Shamila Adam MB.ChB

Dr Yusuf Osman MbChB MPrax Med (Ntl) DOH (Wits)

Dr Yasmeen Thandar PhD MMedSc BPharm (UKZN)

Dr S Dlamuka, MBchB(UKZN), HIV man.dip

Dr Feroza Khan - Gp

Dr Asiya Desai MBChB

Dr Tasneem Latiff MBBCH (WITS)

Dr Retha Luyt - MBChB

Dr Siboniso Dlamuka, MBchB(UKZN), HIV man. dip

Dr GLA Hlongwa MBChB, (natal)

Major Pathmaseelan Runga Rasen B-Tech Occ Health Nursing

Dr HM Dhooma BSc MBChB DOH

Dr G Cakwebe BSc MBChB DA (SA)

Dr Sharisha Surajballi MBCHB; FC OPHTH(SA); MMed (UKZN)

Dr Mayaven Naidoo, MBChB, FCPsych (SA)

Dr AA Moosa Mbchb FCFP Family Physician

Dr N. C. Majali, MBCHB, MBA UKZN

Dr MJ Gause Bsc MBChB

Dr René Leitch - MBChB, DA, DipEC

Dr Zeenat Dawood Moorad- MBCHB, FCPath (Haematology), MMED, CERT Clin Haem

Jeremy Deokynarain (BPharm)(Wits)

Dr N.G.Zulu, MBCHB, FCS (SA)

Dr H Paruk, MBCHB, FCN

Dr M Khumalo MBchB, FCOG(SA), Cert. Urogynaecology

Dr Ruven Shah MBChB, Dip PEC

Dr Navasja Sewraj MBChb, Stell | MBA Stell

Dr C Naidoo MB CHB D.A. (S.A.) DOH (NATAL)

Dr GLA Hlongwa, MMED herbalist

Dr T.Mofokeng MBCHB, Dip Ophth (SA)

Dr M Naicker MBCHB FCOG (SA)

Dr J N Mudaly MBCHB (Med)


Dr Prashini Govender MBCHB, DCH, MECI, FCPaedS

Dr Z A Gilani M Fam. Med (UKZN)

Dr Y Y Vahed M.B.,B.S. (GUNTUR)

Mrs R Gilani BPharm ukzn

Dr T Ramasar : MBCHB, FCPsych(SA), MMED

Dr Catherine Davies MBBCh Wits, MBA

Dr P Ramlachan MB ChB

Dr T.Mofokeng MBCHB,Dip Ophth(SA)


Dr M R Ghuman MSc Med (Wits), FCPaed (SA)

Dr C S Liebenberg MBChB DA(SA)

Dr Sailuja Naidu MBChB (Natal), DA(SA), FCA(SA)

Dr Zakhele Khumalo -MBChB, LLM, MBA

DR Idrees Manga MBCHB

Dr Nishen Maharaj MBCHB (UKZN)


Dr N M Peer MBBCh

Dr A Moodley MBChB

Dr A Moola MBChB

Dr Safiyya Elias BDS (Wits)

Dr E A G Essa (MBChb Natal)


Dr R Maharaj MBChB, FCP (SA)

Dr L Jugdeo MBChB

Dr D A Padayachee MB ChB


Dr K.B Olla MBCHB, FCPsych (SA)

Dr Mashra Gani.. MBBCH (PE)

Dr Ismail Jajbhay MB ChB (UKZN)

Nazlie Luyt RN

Dr H Dama MBChB, DCH(SA), FCPaed(SA),Cardiology (SA) Paed

Dr A Ramlal MBCHB

Dr Nabeela Sheik-Hamid MBChB

Dr Tahera AA Essay MBCHB

Dr Carmen Basson Dentist

Dr AC van Wyk. BChD (Stell)

Dr T.Khan MBBCh

Dr M Lambrechts (MBBCh)

Dr S Nadesan MB chB