Madagascar minister sacked over $2M lollipop plan

An education minister in one of the world’s poorest countries has been sacked after a cockamamie plan to order $2 million in lollipops for schoolchildren.

Rijasoa Andriamanana, Madagascar’s education minister, had ordered the lollies to help mask the “bitter” aftertaste of a herbal remedy — still untested — for coronavirus, according to the BBC. The plan was called off and he was booted after objections from Madagascar’s president, Andry Rajoelina.

Rajoelina is pushing the unproven tonic, called Covid-Organics, as a coronavirus cure in the country which has 1,000 cases of the virus and seven COVID-linked deaths.

Despite the Presidential approval, Madagascar’s National Medical Academy has questioned the artemisia-based tonic, arguing that it could hurt people who take it.

President Rajoelina claims criticism of the drink by Western institutions are based in racism, telling French news station France 24, “If it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so.”

According to the World Bank Madagascar is among the poorest countries in the world with 75% of the population living on less than $1.90 per day.

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