Claim: President Akufo-Addo says that Ghana’s COVID-19 death rate is one of the lowest in the world.
Verdict: Dubawa has analyzed data from the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University and has found the claim by the President to be largely true.
Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that Ghana’s COVID-19 death rate is one of the lowest in the world.
The President said this on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at the opening of the 73rd Annual New Year School and Conference, organized by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, University of Ghana.
“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the lives and livelihoods of hundreds and hundreds of millions of people across the globe and it has led to the deaths of some 5 million and 600 thousand people worldwide. Mercifully, God being so good, Ghana has recorded one of the lowest death rates in the world, numbering in total 1,379 so far,” the President said.
The latest COVID-19 update (18th January 2022) from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) quotes the country’s COVID-19 death toll as 1,370.
To be able to verify the claim by the president Dubawa had to look at the figures and metrics used by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), two institutions that have been widely considered to be churning out credible global COVID-19 data.
The World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University have also reported that the country has recorded a total of 1,370 COVID-19 deaths.
The two institutions use the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) as well as the Cumulative death per 100,000 population to measure the severity of the pandemic in a country or region.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has also listed eight frequently used measures of mortality.
Out of the eight, the most fit is the cause-specific mortality rate. The cause-specific mortality rate is the mortality rate from a specified cause (in this case COVID-19) for a population. This is measured per 100,000 of the population.
The WHO and JHU both provide the CFR and deaths per 100,000 population in their COVID-19 data.
In several publications that analyzed Africa’s COVID-19 mortality rate, references were made to the continent’s CFR and deaths per 100,000 population, or in some instances deaths per a million of the population.
Ghana’s case-fatality rate is 0.9% whereas the cumulative death per 100,000 population is 4.50, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Out of over 184 countries/areas/territories, whose data is available on JHU, Ghana’s case-fatality rate is only higher than that of 46 other countries/areas/territories.
If the countries/areas/territories whose data is captured by Johns Hopkins University are to be ranked according to their respective case-fatality rate, Ghana will be placed 138th out of 184.
Ghana placing 138 out of 184 countries/areas/territories can largely be accepted as very low.
Data from the World Health Organization indicates that the country currently has a case-fatality rate of 0.88%.
Apart from the CFR, Dubawa considered Ghana’s deaths per 100,000 population (Deaths/100K Pop.) as against other countries/areas/territories in verifying the president’s claim
Data from the World Health Organization indicated that Ghana’s Deaths/100K Pop. is 4.41 after recording 1,370 total deaths.
Ghana’s 4.41 Deaths/100K Pop. is only higher than 43 countries/areas/territories out of the 237 captured in WHO’s database.
From JHU’s data, the country’s Deaths/100K Pop. is 4.50 after recording 1,370 total deaths. Ghana’s 4.50 is only higher than that of 22 other countries/areas/territories.
If the countries whose data is captured by Johns Hopkins University are to be ranked according to their respective deaths/100K pop Ghana will be placed 162nd out of 184 countries/areas/territories.
Source: John Hopkins University (Arranging countries according to Deaths/100K population)
It is worth noting that some countries/areas/territories with a lower death rate per 100K population had recorded no cases of COVID-19.
Some of these are Turkmenistan, Tuvalu and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Burundi’s death per 100K population is currently 0.118 and could be mentioned as the country with the lowest COVID-19 death rate.
The Eastern African country has recorded 37,170 cases and has recorded 14 deaths, according to WHO figures.
What other data sources are saying
Ghana’s case fatality rate on www.ourworldindata.org is 0.88% after recording 1,370 cases. The website also indicated that the country’s new COVID-19 deaths per million of population is 0.12.
Worldmeters has the COVID-19 data of 225 countries. It has quoted 1,370 as Ghana’s total death toll. It has indicated that the country’s death per 1million population is 43.
If these 225 countries are ranked according to their deaths per 1 million population, Ghana will be placed 185, using data from Worldmeters.
Global COVID-19 outlook
According to the World Health Organization, globally, as of 5:06 PM CET, 24 January 2022, there have been 349,641,119 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 5,592,266 deaths. As of 24 January 2022, a total of 9,620,105,525 vaccine doses have been administered.
Having analyzed data from the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University, Dubawa has rated the claim to be largely true.
This report was produced under the Dubawa Student Fact-checking Project aimed at offering students in tertiary schools aspiring to take up roles in the profession the opportunity to acquire real-world experience through verification and fact-checking.