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The government of Madagascar has replaced Health Minister Ahmad Ahmad with Jean Louis Hanitrala Rakotovao after the former asked international agencies to send medical equipment without due consultation with the government.
The Indian Ocean island-nation saw a sharp rise in cases of COVID-19 in July despite an official campaign to promote a controversial herbal drink named COVID Organic as the remedy for coronavirus.
As hospitals raised concern about lack of beds, Health Minister Ahmad Ahmad wrote a letter in July asking international agencies to send medical equipment
His appeal sparked anger in President Andry Rajoelina’s administration, which said Ahmad had acted “without consulting” either the government or head of state.
Ahmad’s cabinet exit was revealed on Thursday in the announcement of a new list of ministers following a reshuffle.
“Jean Louis Hanitrala Rakotovao has been named new health minister,” cabinet secretary Valery Ramonjavelo told a press conference, without giving details about the change.
President Rajoelina has been promoting an infusion derived from Artemisia, a plant with proven anti-malarial properties, as a homegrown cure for COVID-19.
The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that there have been no published scientific studies to validate claims for the drink, and mainstream scientists have pointed to potential risks from untested concoctions.
The herbal concoction COVID Organic is also be given to school children to help boost their immunity.