HAS GHANA DONE MORE COVID-19 TESTS THAN NIGERIA, NIGER, TOGO, BENIN AND COTE D’IVOIRE?
CLAIM: Ghana has done more COVID-19 tests than Nigeria, Niger, Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire combined
VERDICT: Outright lie (two stars)
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia toured parts of Northern Ghana last week. As part of his tour of the Upper East Region, the Vice President was interviewed on GBC-URA radio on September 11, 2020. The interview was generally about the achievements of the Akufo Addo-led administration since 2017. In that interview, the Vice President claimed that Ghana has done more testing for the COVID-19 than Nigeria, Niger, Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire combined.
“In terms of testing we have almost close to five hundred thousand tests so far in Ghana. If you take Nigeria, take Niger, take Togo, take Benin and Ivory Coast, add those 5 together they haven’t tested as much as Ghana, combined. All the five.”
CUE: BAWUMIA-TESTING (29secs)
To fact check this claim, Starrfmfactchecker limited its research to the five countries mentioned by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. The research focused on the statistics relating to the number of tests done in each of the five countries and compared the total of all five countries to the number of samples tested in Ghana.
WHAT ARE THE TESTING STATISTICS FOR GHANA AND THE FIVE COUNTRIES MENTIONED?
Ghana confirmed the first two cases of the novel coronavirus on March 12, 2020. The country’s tally of the COVID-19 is forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty-five (45,655) as at September 16, 2020 per information on the official COVID-19 website, https://www.ghanahealthservice.org/covid19/. Active cases as at the time of this fact check stands at five hundred and sixty-four (564) while total deaths recorded is two hundred and ninety-four (294). Ghana has forty-four thousand, seven hundred and ninety-seven recoveries (44, 797). The country’s testing statistics for the COVID-19 is divided into two distinct types based on the surveillance method. The first is samples tested through routine surveillance and the second deals with samples tested through what the government refers to as enhanced contact tracing. Government’s dedicated COVID-19 website, puts the total number of samples tested through routine surveillance at one hundred and sixty-nine thousand, seven hundred and ninety-one (169, 791). A total of two hundred and eighty-six thousand, two hundred and fifty-eight (286,258) samples have been tested through enhanced contact tracing. This means that the total number of tests done in Ghana as at September 16, 2020 per data on www.ghanahealthservice.org/covid19 is four hundred and fifty-six thousand, and forty-nine samples tested(456,049). The table below shows surveillance type and the positivity rate from the samples tested
Africa’s most populous country confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 on February 28 2020. Since then, Nigeria has recorded a cumulative number of fifty six thousand, four hundred and seventy eight (56, 478) cases. Nigeria’s death toll for the COVID-19 is one thousand and eighty eight (1088). As at midnight on Thursday September 10, 2020 the Nigeria Center for Disease Control(NCDC) says the country has tested four hundred and thirty-six thousand two hundred and thirty-one(436,231) samples. This statistic is captured in the COVID-19 situation report 195 for week 37.
As at Wednesday September 16, 2020, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control(NCDC) says the country has tested four hundred and forty three thousand, nine hundred and eighty (443, 987) samples
Togo has a cumulative case count of one thousand, five hundred and ninety-five (1,595). Of that number forty (40) have died while one thousand, two hundred and nineteen (1219) have recovered. The country’s active cases stands at 336 as at September 15 2020. As at Thursday September 10 this year, Togo had done a total of seventy-four thousand, seven hundred and ninety-five (74,495) for the COVID-19. Source: https://covid19.gouv.tg/situation-au-togo/
As at Tuesday, September 15, 2020 the official government information website indicated that Togo had conducted seventy eight thousand six hundred and thirty- four (78,634) tests.
Benin confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on March 16 2020. As of now, the country has recorded a total number of two thousand two hundred and sixty-seven (2267) cases of the COVID-19. Forty (40) persons have so far died from the disease while one thousand nine hundred and forty-two (1942) recoveries have been recorded in that country. On its dedicated coronavirus website https://www.gouv.bj/coronavirus/ the Benin government gives details about the number of tests-both Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Rapid Diagnostic Test abbreviated as TDR done for the COVID-19. An update provided on the government’s website on August 15 this year put the total number of tests done in the country at seventy thousand, seven hundred and eighty-one(70,781). Source: https://www.gouv.bj/actualite/806/rapport-situation-covid-19-benin-date-13-aout-2020/
By September 16, Benin had done one hundred and twenty-two thousand six hundred and five (122,605) PCR tests while the number of rapid diagnostic test conducted was approximately thirty-six thousand two hundred and seventy-six (36,276). This means Benin’s total number of tests done for COVID-19 as at September 16, 2020 is one hundred and fifty-eight thousand, eight hundred and eighty-one (158,881).
Niger’s first COVID-19 case was a 36 year old Nigerien man who prior to confirmation had travelled to Togo, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. The case was confirmed on Thursday March 19, 2020.
Niger’s cumulative case load for the novel coronavirus as at Wednesday September 16, 2020 stood at one thousand one hundred and eighty-two (1182). Of the number, sixty-nine (69) have died with one thousand one hundred and four (1104) persons healed so far. Niger’s Ministry of Public Health says nineteen thousand, five hundred and forty-three (19, 543) people have been tested.
The Republic of Cote d’Ivoire confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on 11th March 2020. It was the case of an Ivorian returning from Italy. The country now has a total case count of nineteen thousand and sixty-six (19,066). By September 11, Cote d’Ivoire had tested a total of one hundred and thirty-nine thousand, seven hundred and six (139,706) samples.
On September 14, 2020, the Minister of Health and Public Hygiene Dr. Eugene Aka Aoulele issued a communique providing an update on the COVID-19 situation in Cote D’Ivoire. In the communique posted on the government’s website http://www.sante.gouv.ci/welcome/actualites/815, the minister says Cote d’Ivoire has tested a total of one hundred and forty-three thousand, six hundred and sixty-one (143,661) samples.
WHAT DO THESE STATISTICS MEAN RELATIVE TO THE CLAIM?
To ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the claim made by the Vice President, it is imperative to add the individual statistics for each country from the details provided above. Because this is a matter of statistics which have the propensity to change over time, Starrfmfactchecker used the testing statistics as were available on or before the morning of Friday, September 11 when the Vice President made the claim.
Nigeria-436,231samples tested as at September 10, 2020.
Togo-74,495 tests as at September 10, 2020.
Benin-70,781 tests as at August 15, 2020
Niger-*there’s no available statistic for testing for this country for period on or before September 11 when the Vice President made the claim. But as at Wednesday September 16, the country had done 19, 543 tests.
Cote d’Ivoire-139,706 samples tested as at September 11, 2020.
A simple addition of the tests done for the 4 countries before September 11, 2020 (Niger is excluded from this computation because there is no available statistic for tests done on or before September 11) gives a total of seven hundred and twenty-one thousand, two hundred and thirteen (721,213) tests.
From the facts and evidence available, although Ghana has tested more than each of the 5 countries being compared, it is not and cannot be true that Ghana has done more tests for the COVID-19 than Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire combined. Indeed the total for the countries excluding Niger is seven hundred and twenty-one thousand, two hundred and thirteen (721,213) which is more than the 456,049 samples tested in Ghana as at Wednesday September 16, 2020. The total for the five countries as far as testing is concerned, will be more than 721,213 once the September 16, 2020 statistic for Niger is added. Starrfmfactchecker therefore finds Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s claim that Ghana has done more tests than Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire an outright lie and therefore rates its two stars.