A tropical infection known as Chagas disease can be cured with certain costly drugs.
Yet an organization called Terre Sans Frontières (Earth Without Borders) is using $350,000 of grant money it received from Global Affairs Canada to send more than a dozen volunteer homeopaths to Honduras to help them deal with the disease. The program began in 2015 and will last through 2020.
How the hell are fake doctors treating real diseases? That’s what Vik Adhopia of CBC News wants to know:
Homeopathy is an unusual choice for foreign aid because it rejects the basic premises of science and it’s practised by people who are usually not medical doctors.
Among its principles — water has memory, “like cures like,” and the more a substance is diluted, the more powerful it becomes. Its practitioners often can’t explain exactly how something so implausible is supposed to work, while most in the research and medical community label it pseudoscience.
TSF spokesman Philippe Legault said homeopathy fills the needs of Hondurans not being met by their under-resourced health-care system.
“We’re helping people to have some tools to work with their population and their health. We surely don’t think that we can cure everything with homeopathy.“
The problem isn’t that homeopathy can’t cure everything; it’s that it can’t cure anything. It’s a waste of resources and Hondurans are being lied to if they think they’re getting treatment for the disease. False hope can have symbolic value, but it doesn’t take care of serious problems.
Vancouver pediatrician Dr. Srinivas Murthy said he worries about the impact of Canada supporting aid that’s not grounded in evidence or science.
He said offering homeopathy in underdeveloped countries could undermine treatments that are actually effective.
“I think that whole positioning of homeopathy is based on a pre-existing mistrust of medicine. It’s giving them something that’s not going to make them better, that’s going to solidify that overall sense of mistrust in the health-care system.“
They might as well have sent some psychics and astrologers as part of the package. If you’re going to waste money, why stop at one form of bullshit?
To paraphrase one Redditor, it would’ve been far more useful to take a few dollars of that funding and dilute it a billion times until there’s enough to help people. And if that sounds ridiculous, well, now you understand why what they’re actually doing is so troubling.
(Image via Shutterstock)