Hospitals in Madagascar are currently struggling to cope with the swelling number of Covid-19 cases, while the president has been promoting an unproven product which according to him can cure the disease despite the World Health Organization (WHO) warning against using untested remedies.
Confirmed cases have quadrupled in the past month in the Indian Ocean island. Health officials have recorded more than 13,000 infections and 162 deaths from coronavirus, which has spread to all but one of its 22 regions.
Despite the spike, President Andry Rajoelina stands by the herbal concoction called Covid-Organics, which was launched to great fanfare in April.
It is produced by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research from the artemisia plant – the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment – and other Malagasy plants.
The herbal cure has been marketed as a prevention and remedy and for the last four months been administered to children at school.