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No, US coronavirus aid for Madagascar won’t fund ‘Covid-19 remedy’

“Trump offers $2.5 million to Madagascar to develop the Covid-19 remedy,” reads the headline of an article by the Zambian Observer.

The article says Michael Pelletier, the US ambassador to Madagascar, “gave the news on April 21, 2020”.

The US has granted Madagascar US$2.5 million in health assistance during the Covid-19 outbreak.

But is the money “to develop the Covid-19 remedy”?

Madagascar president’s ‘cure’

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

The World Health Organization and African Union have advised that it be properly tested for safety and efficacy before it is prescribed as a cure. The Zambian Observer does not mention the tonic by name.

‘Strengthen health response across the country’

Pelletier announced the US aid package on 20 April. US president Donald Trump does not appear to have commented on the donation, and official statements have not mentioned development of a remedy.

In a video announcing the aid package, Pelletier said: “This money will be used to strengthen the health response across the country including hospitals, laboratories, and community health.”

According to a statement posted on Twitter by US Aid Madagascar, the funding “will help expand Covid-19 testing, disease surveillance, and education”.

There is no mention of the money being earmarked to develop the remedy. Instead, official announcements have emphasised testing, education, and tracing efforts, as well as what Pelletier called a longstanding mission to “build resilient health care systems that can prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks”.

Africa Check has previously debunked a number of false articles published in the Zambian Observer. – Keegan Leech


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