COVID-19: Lagos Governor’s claim about Ghana doing Rapid Diagnostic Tests Completely False

The Governor of Lagos in Nigeria, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday May 5, made a claim on the kind of tests that are done to confirm coronavirus cases in Ghana. He also claimed that because of the kind of tests Ghana is doing, one cannot be very sure about the results. The Governor made the claims when he was responding to a question on BBC’s Focus on Africa program about why Ghana seemed to have done well in West Africa in terms of the number of tests done for COVID-19.

“I’m not sure Ghana is doing a full molecular test. They are probably doing some bit of rapid test,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Even though Sanwo-Olu used probably, an indication of his own uncertainty about the claim he was making, has investigated the claim to set the record straight. The investigations showed that the Governor’s claim is False. Below is the explanation.

Ghana has not started using any form of rapid testing system such as the Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) for testing COVID-19 cases. In a statement released on March 23, 2020 about the issue, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) said the current tests for screening and diagnosis of the Coronavirus in Ghana is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, a real time molecular diagnostic testing technique.

On May 4, 2020 the FDA issued another statement further indicated that the FDA had not registered any Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits for screening and diagnosing COVID-19 in Ghana.

“There are dozens of serology tests being marketed globally that are not providing accurate information and that are not comparable to each other. Ensuring that tests are comparable and accurate requires a validation process overseen by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA),” part of the statement read.

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The FDA further added that “the use of such unregistered Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) Kits could lead to inaccurate results which may have adverse health repercussions; false positive or negative results can have devastating impacts on the current efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and spread.”

The public Relations Officer of the Ghana Health Service, Mr. Jacob Andoh, also confirmed to the Fact-check Ghana team that Ghana does not use any form of RDT to test COVID-19.  All Coronavirus cases are tested using the PCR testing technique.

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