UPDATED – COVID-19 UPDATE: Akufo-Addo’s claim on his gov’t’s Cholera record true

Editor’s note:

After publishing this story, our readers have drawn our attention to the President’s use of the phrase “Cholera outbreak” which is different from “Cholera cases”. Basing on the data presented to Fact-Check Ghana by the Ghana Health Service, President Akufo-Addo’s claim of his government not recording any cholera outbreak in the last three years is true, not false.


Yesterday, President Nana Akufo-Addo delivered what he hopes will be his last televised COVID-19 update following the World Health Organisation’s declaration that the disease is no longer a global pandemic.

In a speech that touched on the country’s experience with the pandemic which brought some of the world’s most sophisticated healthcare systems to their knees, the President said after consulting with the COVID-19 task force he set up in 2020, they have decided to declare the pandemic over in Ghana.

President Akufo-Addo observed that the protocols implemented during the period of the COVID-19 scourge have had a positive impact on addressing sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhoea.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the President’s claim and presents the results below.

Claim: “There has been a dramatic decrease in diarrhoea diseases, and we have not had any cholera outbreaks these past three years – these developments are attributable mostly to the hand washing and improved hygiene regimen in our communities.”

Verdict:  False

Explanation:  Contrary to the President’s claim, there have been at least nine cholera cases from January 2021 to June 2022 alone. This is according to figures Fact-check Ghana obtained from Ghana Health Service (GHS) through a Right to Information (RTI) request last year.

Year Number of cases
2017 24,358
2018 1,896
2019 171
2020 1
2021 8
2022(Jan-June) 1

Source: Ghana Health Service

From the data above, the country has from 2021 recorded at least nine cases of cholera. The President’s claim is therefore not true.

It is not only President Akufo-Addo who has made this false claim.  Last year,  Vice-President Bawumia while commissioning a water project in Tuna in the Savannah Region in October 2022 claimed that the country had not recorded any cholera cases since 2017.  Fact-check Ghana found it was false.

Again, in contradiction to the data his organisation released to Fact-Check Ghana, the Director of Public Health at the GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, also made a similar assertion in 2022.

He had told Daily Graphic that the country had not recorded any cholera case since 2020 and that only a single case had been documented in 2019. However, per the GHS information made available to Fact-check Ghana, 171 cases were reported in 2019.

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