June 25, 2020 / 11:32 AM / 11 days ago

Fact check: Nobel laureate did not say he was asked to fabricate COVID results

A quote attributed to Congolese Nobel laureate Dr Denis Mukwege suggests he quit a COVID-19 response team because he was asked to fabricate results. The quote is fake and Dr Mukwege has issued a statement that contradicts the information in the post.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

A version of the quote posted to Facebook on June 17 has over 300 shares ( here ) as of June 25. A June 24 version with a reference to UK media ignoring the story ( here ) displays a screenshot of an earlier share ( here ) of the quote.

The text reads: “Dr Dénis Mukwege has just resigned from the Covid19 response team. He declares: “I cannot in any case dirty my Nobel Peace Prize for money, we had been ordered to declare any illness to be coranavirus [sic] 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.”

Dr Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist who has worked in the treatment of woman who have been raped by armed rebels. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 alongside Nadia Murad for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict” ( here ).

On June 10 Dr Mukwege released a statement announcing his resignation from the Multi-sectoral Commission and the Health Commission that was established in the Congolese province of South Kivu in response to the COVID-19 pandemic ( here ). The statement was released on the website for The Panzi Foundation, which was founded by Dr Mukwege and supports his work at Panzi Hospital. In the statement Dr Mukwege outlines his reasons for resigning, citing problems with the implementation of the response strategy he helped devise. These problems included inefficiencies with testing and the implementation of preventative measures.

He stated: “We are therefore at the start of an exponential epidemiological curve and we can no longer apply a strategy that would only be preventive. I therefore decided to resign from my duties as Vice ‐ Chairman of the Multi-sectoral Coronavirus Response Committee in our province and Chairman of the Health Commission, in order to devote myself entirely to my medical responsibilities and to treat this influx of patients at Panzi Hospital.”

On Twitter, Dr Mukwege said statements appearing in his name were not genuine unless they appeared on a list of social networks or sites associated with his work ( here ).

VERDICT

False. The quote attributed to Dr Denis Mukwege is not genuine.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .

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