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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman July 13, 2020

No, Congo doctor didn’t say he resigned from COVID-19 response team over cases being falsified

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  • The quote is fabricated.

  • Dr. Denis Mukwege said he resigned from Congo’s COVID-19 response team over inefficient testing and lax preventive measures, not because he was asked to falsify numbers.

You may have seen some recent Facebook posts that claim Dr. Denis Mukwege, a renowned doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said he resigned from the Congolese COVID-19 response team because he was asked to falsify COVID-19 case and death numbers.

Mukwege did resign, but it wasn’t for those reasons.

Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist and surgeon who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 along with Nadia Murad for their work to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. 

The post displays a photo of Mukwege and claims he said this about resigning from the team: 

"I cannot in any case dirty my Nobel Peace Prize for money, we had been ordered to declare any illness to be coronavirus and any death. In addition, the thing that displeased me is that, after more than 100 samples none came out positive. I have a career to protect and I am Congolese by blood. Getting rich by lying is a sin before God, I quit."

The quote is fake. Mukwege said he resigned because of problems that included inadequate preventive measures and inefficient testing.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

Mukwege served as vice chairman of the Multi-sectoral Coronavirus Response Committee and president of the Health Commission, which were established in Congo’s South Kivu province to handle its COVID-19 pandemic response.

Mukwege released a statement about his decision to resign from the committee on June 10 on the website for the Panzi Foundation, a charitable organization he founded.

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He said the decision was due to slow testing, problems implementing a response strategy and inadequate preventative measures.

"We are therefore at the start of an exponential epidemiological curve and we can no longer apply a strategy that would only be preventive," Mukwege wrote. 

"I therefore decided to resign from my duties as Vice-President of the Multi-sectoral Coronavirus Response Committee in our province and President of the Health Commission, in order to devote myself entirely to my medical responsibilities and to treat this influx of patients at Panzi Hospital."

A Panzi Foundation spokesperson also confirmed to PolitiFact that the quote is fabricated.

On Twitter, Mukwege said any statements posted in his name were not genuine unless they appeared on his official social networks or websites. 

 

Mukwege did resign from the coronavirus response team in Congo, but he never made the statement attributed to him in the post.

We rate this False.

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No, Congo doctor didn’t say he resigned from COVID-19 response team over cases being falsified

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