It’s a rumor that comes back two years after appearing at the start of the pandemic. It targets Madagascar, its president and the WHO. According to messages relayed on social networks, the African country has left the World Health Organization. Its president, Andry Rajoelina, reportedly said: “The WHO offered me 20 million dollars to put a little toxicity in my remedy [contre le] Covid-19”.
Madagascar is still a member of the WHO*. The organization indicates that it has a representative there. Moreover, on May 10, only 24 hours before the publication of this article, the organization has published a press release about the vaccination against Covid-19 in the country. The WHO “congratulates” the government of Madagascar for its action and indicates that it “continues to support the country to generalize adherence to vaccination against [le] Covid-19”.
As for Andry Rajoelina’s alleged statement, there is no trace of it on the president’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. She seems to have started to circulate mid-May 2020 in English then in French on blogs and on Facebook. However, on May 21, 2020, a few days after the appearance of this false quote online, the Malagasy president indicated having exchanged with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO. A gesture that would be surprising if the president had actually made this statement a few days earlier.
As for the “remedy” against Covid-19 that is mentioned in this false quote, it is most likely artemisia. Andry Rajoelina had quickly promoted the consumption of “Covid Organics”, a mixture based on this plant and other plants, to fight against the coronavirus. On April 19, 2020, he had announced production of this drink. On May 4, the WHO showed up cautious, requiring trials to assess its effectiveness. Artemisia is not one of the treatments currently recommended by the WHO to fight against Covid-19.
* Neither the WHO nor the Embassy of Madagascar in France responded to requests from 20 minutes for this article.