The ultra-brief summary of this post might be: ‘Honorary consul of Liberia in Germany arranges homeopathic mission from the Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis (LMHI) to Liberia to find homeopathic cure for ebola.’
Homeopaths Removing their Tracks
In my previous post “Homeopaths in Liberia: ‘Mission Ebola‘” I identified the four homeopaths who are (now) in Liberia. They are Richard Hiltner (US), Edouard Broussalian (Switzerland), Medha Durge (India) and Ortrud Lindemann (Germany, living in Spain). They are all classical homeopaths but were also educated as doctors in real medicine, how odd that may seem. Hiltner even has more strange hobbies like iridiology and medical astrology. This is not the type of doctor you would want to help you out with such a serious problem as ebola.
The most interesting sources of information have been deleted by now, so it is clear the homeopaths think they have something to hide. But of course there are archived versions. The sources which give details which enable us to connect the dots are:
- ‘Update: Team in Liberia Using Homeopathy in Liberia‘, the post which has vanished from Larry Malerba’s site;
- The letter from Ortrud Lindemann from October 19th on the arrival of the team in Liberia, shared by Debby Bruck on a homeopathy forum and then by others on Facebook. Now deleted at most places, but it can still be found on some Facebook pages on homeopathy;
- The password protected post ‘Mission Ebola’ on the website of Edouard Broussalian, now also deleted. Here is a screenshot of the contents after entering the password, a plaintext copy is also available.
I’ve updated my post a few times, but now it’s time for a more elobarate update because things are getting more and more clear.
The German Connection
The connection with the German homeopaths is far more important than first thought. Already had become clear that this mission is supported by the German organisation Freunde Liberias (Friends of Liberia) and Michael Kölsch, a honorary consul of Liberia in Germany. From the websites of Freunde Liberias and Michael Kölsch and also a newspaper article (pdf) in a local (Leipzig) newspaper we are led to believe the following story: Michael Kölsch was approached by an international group of 20 medical doctors who were seeking a way to help out with the ebola crisis in Liberia. Kölsch has contacts with Freunde Liberias which already raises money for an ebola project. This project is mainly about providing information on ebola in Liberia and according to the newspaper, they had already raised at least 5,000 euro at the end of September, with which they financed a documentary for instance. Kölsch himself can help with visas and contacts in Liberia.
Nowhere is mentioned that also homeopaths will be part of this team! Didn’t Kölsch and Thomas Köppig (president of Freunde Liberias) know? And did the homeopaths perhaps somehow manage to ‘infiltrate’ a bona fide mission consisting of regular doctors who were unaware of their hidden agenda? This thought can be binned after we take a closer look at Kölsch.
Michael Kölsch is married to Monika Kölsch, a homeopathic medical doctor. She also holds several functions in the German homeopathic organisations. At the moment she is treasurer of the Deutsche Zentralverein homöopathischer Ärzte (DZVhÄ) which is the overall association of homeopathic doctors in Germany. She is therefore also well connected with homeopaths worldwide (via the LMHI). Homeopathy is not just the interest of Monika, her husband has in recent years also been involved with Homöopathen ohne Grenzen (Homeopaths without Borders). In 2012 he arranged a visit for that organisation to Liberia. In a personal report about of one his trips to Liberia with business people (‘Bericht über eine Unternehmerreise nach Liberia im März 2012‘) Kölsch also describes a (personal?) visit to the clinic which would be the host of the Homeopaths without Borders:
Es freut mich, dass sie der Homöopathie sehr aufgeschlossen gegenüber steht. Sie teilt meine Auffassung, dass die Homöopathie eine geeignete Heilmethode sei, um damit das Gesundheitswesen in Liberia zu ergänzen. Sie ist preiswert und die Offenheit der Liberianischen Bevölkerung für alternative, sanfte Heilmethoden darf unterstellt werden. Wenige Tage nach meiner Abreise werden die „Homöopathen ohne Grenzen“ aus Deutschland zusammen mit Frau Gieraths-Nimene Liberianischen Ärzten in Monrovia die Homöopathie vorstellen.
From which we can conclude that Kölsch himself is a believer in homeopathy and thinks it should be integrated into the healthcare system of Liberia.
The president of Freunde Liberias, Thomas Köppig, must also be very well aware of the homeopathic character of this mission. Both on the website of the organisation as on his own business website he links to the homeopathic practice of Monika Kölsch. His company is even in the same building as her practice.
Planned at the Top
It looks like this mission was planned and organized by homeopaths at the highest level, especially those in Germany. The new information confirms what was stated by LMHI president Renzo Galassi in his letter from August 25th: “Some of our colleagues from Germany are in contact with members of the government of Liberia and in a few days a door could be opened to that country.” We can now also better interpret the following sentence written by Ortrud Lindemann in the vanished message on Facebook:
And we thank Renzo, Altunay, André, Conni and Curt for setting us on the track by their unlimited efforts and Michael Kölsch and Siegfried Ziegler to connect us to Ganta Hospital
- ‘Renzo’ is Renzo Galassi, president of the LMHI;
- ‘Altunay’ is Altunay Soylemez, treasurer of LMHI;
- ‘André’ is most likely André Saine, also mentioned by Broussalian. He is a Canadian homeopath, dean of the Canadian Academy of Homeopathy. He debated Steven Novella in the past ;
- ‘Conny’ is probably Cornelia Bajic, current president of the DZVhÄ;
- ‘Curt’ is probably Curt Kösters, former president of the DZVhÄ. While he was president, Cornelia Bajic was vice-president (zweite Vorsitzende).
Other people mentioned in her update are related to the Methodist Church in Liberia and Ganta Hospital.
What did the Inviting Party know?
Siegfried Ziegler is another key figure in this story. He was manager of Ganta Hospital during 1974-77. Back in Germany he made a career as manager in health care facilities run by the evangelical methodist church. After his retirement in 2012 he started to work on raising money for a renovation (or a complete rebuild) of Ganta Hospital. He is well connected to the Liberian government for he knows the current health minister from his early days in Liberia and via the church there’s also an connection with president (and Nobel Peace Price winner) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf , she also donated to Ganta Hospital as a private person. This can be read in newspaper articles copied on the site of Kölsch.
What Ziegler thinks about homeopathy and whether he knew about the background of the team members are open questions for me at the moment.
My guess is that the plan by 20 international medical doctors stems completely from homeopaths active in the LMHI and DZVhÄ (Germany) in particular. And that there is just this team of four homeopaths who actually went to Liberia. This also makes more sense, because why would you send 20 doctors to one small African hospital? Also it would explain that I failed to find any news from other medical doctors who might be part of such larger group that went to Liberia (and I looked quite hard for such information 😉 )
Many people will agree that this homeopathic mission is a foolish, unethical and possibly dangerous endeavour. Also I think it is fair to conclude that Kölsch and Freunde Liberias have deliberately misled the public by raising money for their ebola project by not explicitly mentioning that this mission was a homeopathically inspired one.
Update 6-11-2014: the LMHI has put a statement on their website in which they claim that they offered to send a team of homeopaths in a letter to the Liberian government dated August 26th and that they were invited by the government on October 7th. Maybe they mean by ‘government’ just the honorary consul Kölsch.
Update 13-11-2014: another update on the LMHI website. The homeopaths have not been able to treat ebola patients: “somewhat surprisingly and due to a few diplomatic problems, they were not allowed to administer homeopathic remedies to the EVD [Ebola Virus Disease] patients as an adjunct to the WHO protocols.” This may seem good news, but the update also mentions that they “treated very severe non-EVD patients who did arrive, regardless of their disease. Both hospital and clinic out-patients were seen and treated, with impressive results. The results were so promising that the LMHI were requested on departure to establish a program of homeopathic teaching and treatment in the Hospital.” Yuck! 🙁
Update 14-11-2014: it feels a bit strange to praise an article in the Daily Mail on things related to health, because they have it wrong so often on that matter, but I’m quite happy with the following article: ‘Homeopaths sent to deadly Ebola hotspot to treat victims with ARSENIC and SNAKE VENOM‘ by Simon Tomlinson and man on the ground in Liberia, Gethin Chamberlain.
Update 20-11-2014: another article in the Mail in which the homeopaths who went to Liberia (excluding Broussalian) are interviewed: ‘Homeopathy CAN cure Ebola’: Doctors attack ‘armchair intellectuals’ at World Health Organisation who refuse to let them treat deadly virus with snake venom remedy.
Update 24-11-2014: finally main stream media in Switzerland and Germany begin to pick up the story. Yesterday it was the Neue Zürcher Zeitung with ‘Genfer Homöopath von Liberia abgewiesen‘. They don’t mention Broussalian by name for some reason I do not understand. And today there’s a story by Der Spiegel: ‘Homöopathie: Liberia verhindert Tests an Ebola-Patienten‘ which delves more into the organisers behind this mission, Kölsch and the DZVhÄ.