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Madagascar’s President did not accuse WHO of offering $20 million to poison local COVID-19 treatment

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A post is being widely shared on social media claiming that Madagascar President alleged that the World Health Organisation (WHO) offered him $20 million to put toxins in their coronavirus remedy. Let us fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be seen here.

Claim: WHO offered $20 million to Madagascar President to put toxins in their COVID-19 remedy.

Fact: There is no evidence that Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina had accused WHO of offering him $20 million to poison their alleged COVID-19 remedy. A spokesman for the Madagascan presidency flatly has also denied the claims. Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina, in April 2020, launched a herbal concoction he claimed could prevent and cure the novel coronavirus, but it failed to halt COVID-19 spike in August 2020. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.

When we searched for news articles regarding Madagascar’s President accusing WHO of bribing him, a BBC article titled ‘Coronavirus: The misinformation circulating in Africa about COVID-19’ was found. According to the article, the story first appeared in a French-language post on a Facebook account that was operating from Angola and DR Congo on 23 April 2020. The claims were later published by two newspapers in Tanzania on 14 May 2020, one of these reports alleges President Rajoelina had admitted during an interview with France24 that he had been offered money. Mr. Rajoelina was indeed interviewed by France24 on 11 May 2020, but at no point does he say he had been offered any money by the WHO. The WHO has said the BBC the story is fake, and the Madagascar government has dismissed the allegations.

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina, in April 2020, launched a herbal concoction he claims can prevent and cure the novel coronavirus. The drink which was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) is derived from artemisia- a plant with proven efficacy in Malaria treatment- and other indigenous herbs. However, the WHO has warned against “adopting a product that has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy” and in its statement, also welcomed innovations based on traditional remedies. Although the Madagascan leader is on record questioning WHO concerns about the herbal drink, there is no evidence he accused the agency of trying to bribe him to poison Covid-Organics, the herbal concoction. Later in August 2020 despite the spike in COVID-19 cases, President Andry Rajoelina stood by Covid-Organics, according to this BBC article. According to this article, Madagascar joined the COVID-19 vaccine COVAX program after initially not joining it.

Several international fact-checkers have also debunked the claim made in social media posts that WHO was accused by Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina of offering $20 million in May 2020. The reports of which can be seen here, here, and here.

To sum it up, Madagascar’s President did not accuse the WHO of offering $20 million to poison an alleged local COVID-19 treatment.

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