Explainer: Akufo-Addo didn’t lie about number of samples tested for COVID-19 in Ghana so far

There have been concerns over the credibility of the number of persons tested for the novel coronavirus and the country’s testing capacity.

President Nana Akufo-Addo

Some medical experts and politicians have questioned how Noguchi, the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), and the Public Health Reference Laboratory have been able to test about 80,000 samples so far.

But the Head of Virology at Noguchi, Professor William Ampofo, at a press briefing in Accra on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, explained that the testing labs had resorted to pooling samples to become more efficient.

According to him, that initially, they were testing the samples individually but when the pressure started surfing and newer cases were springing up every day, they started "pooling" the samples.


We simply pool the samples, meaning that, if you have 1,000 samples, you put them in groups of 10 and you test 100 pools at a time. So in a short time, instead of testing 1,000 samples, you actually test 10,000 samples. This method we are using now was derived in 1945 and this very efficient way we have proceeded,” Prof. Ampofo explained.

However, if there is a positive in pooling, then they go back to the individual samples and retest to identify which one(s) are positive.

Prof. Ampofo further added that the rate of testing could even increase further in the next few days.

He added that they are working in 3 teams, each team running 12-hour shifts(from 8:00 to 20:00).

Thus, with this pooling thing, they are able to test between 2000 - 3000 cases every 12 hours.


One of the politicians who has questioned the credibility of the number of tests put out by the government is NDC’s Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi.

The NDC firebrand finds it strange and a reason to describe the President Akufo-Addo figures as misleading.

But the Head of Virology at Noguchi, Professor William Ampofo says people should not be surprised.


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