FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): The Gujar tribe people in northeastern Badakhshan province eat the meat of an herbivorous animal locally called ‘Andak’ to treat coronavirus due to lack of clinics and other health facilities in their areas.
But according to experts, self-medication and using herbs or animals meat is not beneficial for coronavirus patients and may have adverse effects.
Andak is a four-limbed animal bigger than cat and eats bushes and lives in mountains.
In the past, the people of Badakhshan would use the meat of Andak to treat tuberculosis, bone related diseases, Rheumatic diseases, nutrition deficiency and other diseases. Now they have started using the meat of Andak to treat coronavirus.
Some people from Gujar tribe told Pajhwok Afghan News the meat of Andak was beneficial and some used it to treat coronavirus patients.
Abdul Jabbar who belongs to Gujar tribe, and hails from the Pamdarai district, said he heard about coronavirus on radio few days earlier.
Referring to the lack of awareness about coronavirus among Gujar people, he said the majority of Gujar people lived in mountains and were unaware about coronavirus because they lacked electricity.
He said there was no health facility in their area, leaving them with no option but to shift their patients to the district clinics, a few kilometers away from their village.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News reporter in Kabul: “The lack of health clinics in their areas has forced people to use the Andak animal meat for treatment of coronavirus. I know those who ate the Andak meat had recovered from coronavirus.”
Zarghona, a resident of Dara-i-Khastak locality of Juram district, said: “The meat and fat of Andak animal treat many diseases such as bone pain, spinal cord pain and other untreatable diseases which doctors are unable to treat.”
She said this animal has high sense of recognizing herbals and valuable plants and always fed on bushes and these plants.
Mohammad Naeem, a resident of DaraJem locality in Badakhshan’sKisham district, who currently lives in Kabul’s Reshkhowr area said: “People have no information about coronavirus, they visit families and don’t know how to protect themselves from coronavirus.”
Abdul KhaliqHaqyarGujarzada, head of the Gujar Tribe Council in northeastern zone, said Gujar tribesmen lived in far-flung areas of the country and lacked health facilities and awareness about coronavirus. They have no option but to use herbal and other traditional medicines to treat coronavirus patients.
He said the awareness issue about coronavirus had been shared with government officials but no proper attention was paid to address this problem.
Abdul RahmanFarooqi, assistant head of Pashae tribe in Faizabad, the provincial capital, said he trusted the treatment of coronavirus through the meat of Andak.
He said in the past Andak was used for treatment of Rheumatic diseases, nutrition deficiency and other disease but now due to the lack of clinics it was used for treatment of coronavirus.
She said the use of Andak meat was unlawful: “This animal has four legs and claws and according to the teachings of Islam, the meat of this animal is unlawful but in some cases people are compelled to use its meat.”
KikawusTaksari, spokesperson for the Badakshshan agriculture department, said he was unaware about the use of Andak meat by some people and added: “For the first time I heard this.” He said a less number of Gujar people lived far- flung areas of Badakhshan away from the city.
Assistant Health Director Dr. NawsheenGawhar said the use of Andak meat for the treatment of coronavirus was not fair and added they did not come across such a case.
Dr. ObaidullahHashami, head of the Afghanistan Homeopathic Association, said there was no evidence to say the use of any animal or herbal could treat coronavirus.
He blamed the Ministry of Public Health for not providing awareness to Badakhshan people on coronavirus, adding due to lack of awareness, people used Andak meat for coronavirus treatment.
Use of Andak meat is unlawful: scholars
MaulviImdadulhaq, the iman of HazratYousuf mosque in Faizabad, said the meat of Andak is unlawful and has not health benefits.
“The Prophet PBUH said in a Hadith that my followers treatment is not in unlawful meat,” he said.
The Gujar Tribe Council Assistant Head Maulvi Abdul MananArif said the Andak meat is unlawful.
MasoumaJafari, assistant spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health, said the ministry had recently formed a committee on coronavirus awareness and to monitor the second wave of the virus.
He said the purpose of the committee was to spread awareness about coronavirus among people in provinces and far-flung areas.
She said there is no treatment for coronavirus in the world except vaccines which have not yet reached Afghanistan. According to Jafari, some medicines helped in the treatment of some coronavirus symptoms.
Reaching in numbers almost 1.5 million, Gujar tribe men and women live in parts of Kapesa, Baghlan, Balkh, Kunduz, Takhar, Badakhshan, Nuristan, Laghman, Nangarhar and Khost provinces.
According to the Constitution, 14 languages of Pashton, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashae, Nuristani, Aimaq, Kerkiz, Qazalbash, Gujar and Barahavi tribes are officially recognized.
“This Investigative Report was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Pajhwok and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.”