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120. Madagascar president’s ‘cure’

“Madagascar quits the World Health Organization, urges other African countries to do the same,” reads the headline of an article on the site Ibarapa Parrot.

The article, from 16 May 2020, says Madagascar’s president Andry Rajoelina took the decision “because of the bad faith of Europe towards Africa”.

It reads: “Europe created organisations with the desire for Africans to remain dependent on them. Africa has found a medicine against Coronavirus but Europe thinks they have a monopoly of intelligence as such they are refusing to acknowledge it.”

The claim that Madagascar has quit the organisation been made on other websites, and shared on Facebook. But is it true?

On 21 April Madagascar’s president Andry Rajoelina launched Covid-Organics, a herbal remedy he claimed could cure Covid-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and African Union have advised that it must be properly tested for safety and efficacy before it can be prescribed as a cure.

In an 11 May interview with the French news channel France 24, Rajoelina said that he thought the tonic was being criticised because it didn’t come from a poor African country.

“If it wasn’t Madagascar, and if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so,” he said.

“Europe can’t admit that a country like Madagascar has come up with this formula to save the world,” he said.

But he has not said that this had made him take the country out of the 194-member WHO.

Madagascar still a WHO member

Africa Check has tried to contact the presidency for comment. But fellow fact-checking organisation AFP has also looked into the claim.

“The presidency of Madagascar formally denies all these allegations,” Lova Ranoramoro, the presidential cabinet head, told AFP.

“Since the launch of the Covid-Organics remedy, many words have been falsely attributed to president Andry Rajoelina. We firmly condemn these false quotes.”

As of 22 May, Madagascar is still listed as a WHO member state. As recently as 20 May the country was elected to the WHO’s executive board at the World Health Assembly.

And on 21 May Rajoelina tweeted that WHO would work with Madagascar in evaluating the tonic.

A WHO spokesman also confirmed to Africa Check that Madagascar is still a member. We have also asked the agency what the process of exiting the organisation entails. – Motunrayo Joel

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