An image detailing the coronavirus spread statistics in West Africa published by the West African Health Organization (WAHO) claims 31 coronavirus patients in Ghana have recovered.
But this is False.
The image titled “COVID-19 CASE ECOWAS REGION UPDATE” captures the alleged country-specific statistics of all 15 ECOWAS members states, with figures on total confirmed, total recovered, and total death recorded due to the pandemic.
GhanaFact was first alerted to the image on Facebook after a leading civil society activist Franklin Cudjoe posted it on his page that has more than 54,000 followers on April 8.
We have since sent an email to the West African Health Organisation(WAHO) asking for the source of their information in relation to Ghana and would duly update the report when they respond.
GhanaFact used the “Google Images” digital tool in finding the original source of the image.
The verified Twitter handle of West African Health Organization (WAHO), a Specialized Agency of ECOWAS charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the health of the peoples in the sub-region, first published the image on April 7 at 3:06pm.
Subsequently, the Ecowas Parliament twitter handle and Franklin Cudjoe both republished the image on April 8.
According to the Ghana Health Service, only 3 coronavirus patients in Ghana have recovered.
“To say that you are recovered we do the lab test twice and if you become negative, you don’t pose any threat to anyone anymore we say that you are recovered and discharged and we have three,” Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service Dr Badu Sarkodie explained to GhanaFact.
We further sought for clarification from the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of IMANI Centre for Policy and Education Franklin Cudjoe on his Facebook post and he said:
“I think the ECOWAS sources are credible. On the Ghana case, I can’t tell. I suspect ECOWAS picked it because we ourselves may have put it out through some form of communication. They were right on the number of cases [in Ghana.] I can’t fault them for the 31 but if I now hear that it is 3, then clearly someone was miscommunicating.”
Several online portals including myjoyonline.com, apanews.net and ghanareport.com wrongly reported that 31 coronavirus patients in Ghana had recovered on March 31.
The various online articles referenced Ghana’s Minister of Health Kwaku Agyeman Manu as the source of the information.
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The video clip of the interview by the health minister examined by GhanaFact showed the minister said:
“We have the 152 that we have tested positive and taken to care. Thirty (31) of them have been discharged, they just don’t discharge, they keep testing about three or four times for it to show negative before they do the discharge. The discharge is not allowing you to come freely outside, they go visit your home, look at other factors, and try to put you into self-quarantine though you are ok so that they continue monitoring you for the next week or two before they allow you to go free. As at yesterday, there was only one that had been discharged from Kumasi, but I need to check on it as to where these people have actually been discharged. But there are a lot of them in Accra, I need numbers that I don’t have immediately in my hands.”
However, the Ghana Health Service in an update on their dedicated website for providing credible information on the coronavirus spread in Ghana categorized the 31 patients as discharged for home management.
“People with signs and symptoms initially (it can be severe, mild or moderate) that are no more having symptoms but are not negative yet,” Dr Badu Sarkodie clarified are those that have been discharged and being managed at home pending further tests.
As of April 6, Ghana had a total of 49 patients who had been discharged for home management [31 of the cases were recorded following the government directive for travelers to be mandatory quarantine in Accra and the 18 others following routine surveillance by health authorities in the country.]
Patients can only be categorized as recovered if “they have been retested and they are negative,” the Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Badu Sarkodie stated.
He noted that the critically ill category is for patients who are on ventilators.
Ghana’s case count
Ghana has a total of 287 cases of COVID-19 with five (5) deaths as of April 6.
The regional distribution of the cases are as follows: Greater Accra Region has most cases (256) followed by the Ashanti Region (18), Northern Region (10), Upper West Region (1), Eastern Region (1) and Upper East Region (1).
False recovery reports in the past
On March 20, the Ghana Health Service rejected similar reports that 8 coronavirus patients in Ghana have recovered.
Social media including Facebook and Twitter had been buzzing with reports about the recovered patients and at a point, #8Ghanaians was trending as one of the most discussed topics on twitter in Ghana.