A viral post claiming that Congolese Nobel laureate Dr Denis Mukwege quit after he was asked to fabricate COVID-19 results has been found to be fake. A statement issued by Dr Mukwege called the viral claims fabricated.
A Congolese gynecologist who has worked in the treatment of women raped by armed rebels, Dr Mukwege 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".
What is the Fake Claim Circulating on Social Media?
The posts which have been shared multiple times on various social media platforms claim that Dr Mukwege quit after he was asked to change COVID-19 results for cash.
The post which accompanies a picture of the Nobel laureate in PPE gear, contains a lengthy text which reads: "Breaking News DRC 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 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," reads the post on Facebook.
Facebook has now covered the viral posts with "False Information" screens for visitors.
Nobel Laureate Reveals Real Reason for Quitting
Reuters Fact Check reported that in a statement issued by the Nobel Laureate regarding his resignation from the Multi-sectoral Commission and the Health Commission established in the Congolese province of South Kivu in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, spoke about the reason for his quitting.
The statement posted on the website for The Panzi Foundation, founded by Dr Mukwege, outlined his reasons for resigning which included problems with implementation of the response strategy he helped devise. The problems included inefficiencies with testing and implementation of 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. 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," Dr Mukwege said in the statement.
After a series of fake claims regarding his resignation appeared on social media, Dr Mukwege discredited them through a tweet. He said that statements appearing in his name were not genuine unless they appeared on a list of social networks or sites associated with his work.