In Madagascar, Tamatave has become the main focus of the coronavirus

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A disinfection team on the streets of Tamatave, June 4, 2020.

There is only in Madagascar that there are traffic jams during confinement … ” Roland Ratsiraka does not want to smile at his joke. For the deputy of the district of Tamatave, former mayor of the city and several times minister, the hour is serious. Especially on the part of the territory that elected him.

Despite its 300,000 inhabitants, Tamatave, the second largest city in Madagascar, alone accounts for a third of the country’s Covid-19 cases. Located on the seafront, East Coast, nearly 400 kilometers from the capital Antananarivo, Tamatave is the largest commercial port on the Big Island. A city that is going very badly if we are to believe the political.

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“Les sailors are no longer working and I’ve seen the number of beggars multiply in front of the supermarkets “, sues the one for whom the ” confinement to Malagasy ” blew up misery and brought its share of violence.

On Wednesday 3 June, riots broke out between civilians and the police in the city. According to the gendarmerie, a policeman was injured by stone throwing. Shots in the air, shouts, stampede… Videos and photos of the clashes have largely ignited social networks.

A very degraded health situation

“People complain that they can’t work, says Yvan Fabius, a young entrepreneur from the city of Tamatave. And come vendors are deprived of all of their income. ” A situation that affects daily life in this country classified among the poorest in the world.

However, a few days earlier, on May 24, the prefect of the sector had been replaced, the secretary general of the region sacked, like the regional health director of the Atsinanana region (Tamatave region), according to the report of ‘a special council of ministers. This is because, in addition to the social situation, the health situation had also considerably deteriorated in the city which has two hospitals, the CHU (Morafeno) and the Be hospital, to manage the cases of Covid-19, and a political slingshot was beginning to emerge.

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“The nursing staff is in dire need of equipment and especially of personal protection”, is outraged Roland Ratsiraka. On several occasions, the elected official publicly challenged the government on the lack of resources of the hospital. But according to him, to date, the only scanner of the CHU of Morafeno still does not work since May …

If calm seems to have returned in recent days in the port city, the anger has not really disappeared. Two questions which remain unanswered, which are endlessly repeated in conversations and fuel the concerns: what is the protocol followed by the doctors of the CHU of Morafeno? How do they manage the influx of patients? According to a local source, the region’s governor and the presidency have prohibited all communication between health workers and journalists, outside official channels.

The famous Covid Organics herbal tea

In fact, a document from a source close to Tamatave health workers, that The World Africa was able to consult, reveals that asymptomatic patients are treated with chloroquine. There is no mention of the Artemisia-based Covid Organics (CVO) herbal tea, launched and promoted by the President of the Republic since April.

As for patients with symptoms, the protocol seems to be at the discretion of each team. “Some covids refuse to drink CVO, says a source close to Tamatave’s healthcare staff. It is not used as a curative treatment, but only preventive. ”

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The herbal tea should not however be criticized. The president of the city’s medical school paid the price, he found himself interrogated for several hours on May 28 at the gendarmerie. According to the authorities, he is said to be involved in an investigation into the suicide of a doctor at the Morafeno teaching hospital.

But Stéphane Ralandison also published a highly critical column on Covid Organics on his LinkedIn profile on April 20. Two weeks after this episode, he is still awaiting an official notification from the prosecutor regarding the unloading and the lifting of the investigation, and this episode, widely commented on in the hospital, caused serious concern for the carers.

The epidemic curve takes off

And they are not the only ones who have trouble drinking the potion … Thursday, June 4, it was indeed the Minister of Education who was thanked. For school children to drink the CVO potion, she planned to buy 8 billion Ariary (some 1.8 million euros) in candy.

Public opinion and members of the National Assembly have found the bill for sweets a little expensive for the country. In the presidency, Rinah Rakotomanga, the director of communication, recalls that the dismissal was linked to “A more global management problem”, but confirmed that the idea of ​​candy had indeed been suggested to the minister.

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Despite the growing discontent over the containment and the herbal tea, “We continue to promote Covid Organics nationally and continentally, adds Rinah Rakotomanga, adviser to the presidency, who says that around thirty African countries have benefited. And distributions are continuing in Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa and even Tamatave. ”

As the epidemic curve soars – the symbolic bar of 1,000 cases of contamination was crossed this week in Madagascar (1,162 cases), where a dozen people died on June 26, National Day, the Head of State has promised to inaugurate a new laboratory in the capital Antananarivo “100% Malagasy”, as well as a “New pharmaceutical industry”.

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