The Daily Beast (USA): Russia all over Africa promotes quack medicine from covid-19

Abuja, Nigeria — Us President Donald trump is not the only one who threatens the world health organization and speaks approvingly about questionable cures for coronavirus. In Africa the media and social networks, which gained notoriety because of the proliferation generated in Russia of disinformation and conspiracy theories, make a variety of accusations against the who, calling her incompetent, the fraudulent organization.

In the center of these attacks was most likely a well-coordinated campaign to promote the infusion of herbs, which holds backed by Moscow, the government of Madagascar, claiming that this mixture can cure covid-19.

The attacks on the who was intensified on 4 may when she issued a statement and warned African countries against using untested remedies to combat the coronavirus. The story began with the fact that the government of Madagascar began to extol the miraculous properties of untested herbal infusion called “Kovid Organic”, which it bottles and exports in large quantities. The main component of this tonic herb is wormwood (artemisia annua), having certain medicinal properties against malaria.

The who has announced that he supports traditional medicine, if it is “scientifically prove” its effectiveness, but warned that “the use for the treatment covid-19 unverified properly products may expose people to the threat, creating a false sense of security and distracting them from the hand washing and physical distancing, which are the main measures to prevent covid-19”.

The chief supporter of the herbal infusion was the President of Madagascar Andri Rajoelina. This 45-year-old entrepreneur from the sphere of the media were elected in 2018 with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose intervention, as reported by “new York times”, was glaring even by the standards of the Kremlin. (Rajoelina denies ever receiving any help.)

The infusion of “Kovid Organic” is not passed clinical trials. Assistant Rajoelina told that this means “tested” by 20 subjects for three weeks, then in April started production. This “test” even close does not meet any scientific and medical standards.

What was your reaction Rajoelina? He accused the West of arrogant attitude towards traditional African medicine, telling French media that this product would have received universal recognition, “if this medicine was created not Madagascar, but any European country.” “Madagascar has found the formula to save the world, said Rajoelina, claiming that this tonic with herbal extracts can cure the patient covid-19 in 10 days. — No country, no organization can help us to move forward.”

Rajoelina enlisted the powerful support in East Africa, particularly in Tanzania (the country in recent years also established strong links with the Kremlin). Controversial Tanzanian leader John Pombe Magufuli openly endorsed the “Kovid Organic”, and recently hinted that the who overestimates the number of cases covid-19 in his country.

All this in some strange way resonates with the claims and statements of the us President about the miraculous medicines, which he considers the hydroxychloroquine, then household bleach (about “Kovid Organic” he’s not said anything yet), and also with the failures of the who, according to trump, is under the thumb of China. The similarities of these arguments is not accidental. Many African websites that supply these kinds of stories, enthusiastically support trump.

Some Tanzanian Newspapers have criticized the who for refusing to approve the “Kovid Organic”. In particular, the Pro-government publication “Prospects of Tanzania” (Tanzania Perspective) reports that Rajoelina accused who, in an attempt to give him a bribe of $ 20 million, so he poisoned the tea. Later, the spokesman for Madagascar President denied this statement, but did so only after it spread on social networks across the continent. Among others, this story was told to the platform studying in Russia African students of “One Africa, one success” (OAOS), which are used to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories directed against US and in favor of trump.

Members of the OAOS in their reports argue that it is bill gates who bothers to claim the drugs from the coronavirus, including hydroxychloroquine, which supposedly proved its effectiveness in Africa. These stories pick up known on the continent policy, advocating “Kovid Organic”.

“Madagascar says that he has herbal cure for covid-19, wrote on Twitter, the former Minister of aviation of Nigeria and a staunch supporter of trump Femi Fani-Kayode (Femi Fani-Kayode). — Why, then, controlled by bill gates who refuses to take Africans seriously, even in cases when some of these medications show positive results?”

And in Madagascar, numerous media outlets, some of which Russia used to publish a laudatory article about Rajoelina to help him win the election in 2018, who is accused of inefficiency and claim that certain powerful forces are manipulated by the organization, in order to deprive Madagascar of fame of the discoverer of the cure for coronavirus.

“In the Newspapers we see that the who does not seek to find a cure for coronavirus, — has told “the daily Beast” (The Daily Beast) living on Madagascar French freelance journalist Thierry Pam (Pam Thierry). — Nobody talks about who nothing good.”

At the end of April across Africa diverged one post from social networks, stating that Putin has ordered a million servings of “Kovid Organic” and called on Africans not to listen to the who. “Ajans AFP” (Agence France Presse) reported that this is an absolute lie. No order had been made, but authorities deny it, but Russia usually supports the efforts of who to combat the pandemic, at least officially.

However, the disinformation campaign often conflict with official policy, because they have different goals. Russia’s actions are directed mainly to drive a wedge between Africa and other countries, be it US, European States or China. The scandal with the “Coved Organic” may be another means of fomenting discontent. This is evidenced by the approval of the President Rajoelina that the West ignores Madagascar a cure for the pandemic, because it is from Africa.

The people in Madagascar, mostly watching and listening to content created by media close ally of Putin Eugene Prigogine. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has put forward a charge against him due to the fact that Prigogine allegedly funded “Agency Internet research”, which influenced the US presidential election in 2016.

Last year, reporters for the guardian managed to watch one which has become publicly known document, which stated that Russia publishes and distributes the largest on the island newspaper, a circulation of two million copies per month. Russian also belongs to the French news Agency “African Panorama” (Panorama Afrique) with headquarters in the capital Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Madagascar is one of the poorest African countries, 80% of the population live on less than two dollars a day. But she manages to put tens of thousands of servings of “Kovid Organic” in countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania, Comoros, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Chad and Equatorial Guinea. A significant part of the infusion goes there for free, and this raises the suspicion that Madagascar received assistance from Russia in the mass production of this tool.

After his election as President Rajoelina is actively developing relations with Moscow. The most remarkable thing is that it strengthens military cooperation, but also allowed the company Prigogine acquire a controlling stake of the state company, which produces chrome. And this in spite of the protests of the workers who complain of delayed salaries and the abolition of social benefits.

Meanwhile, in this country, with its population of 25 million the number of tests is very limited, and the checks don’t cause much confidence. We know that there hundreds of people have contracted the coronavirus, and this number continues to grow rapidly. This week from covid-19 died there the first two people.