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AfriForum requests NICD to rectify mistakes in COVID-19 epidemiology report

In a letter to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) today the civil rights organisation AfriForum requested that mistakes in the weekly epidemiology report be rectified. Researchers and advisors need accurate information to analyse the COVID-19 situation and to make recommendations.

This follows after the AfriForum Research Institute determined that the information in the report of week 25 doesn’t corroborate with calculations in the reports of week 24 and week 25. The total number of people in the age group 55-59 years old who tested positive, for instance, decreased from 4 479 to 1 246 since the week 24 report, which isn’t possible. There are also mistakes regarding the number and percentage of new cases for over half of the age groups reported on.

AfriForum requested that the following steps be taken:

  • The week 25 report should be retracted and a notice of the retraction should be published.
  • The mistakes in the report should be identified and rectified and the report then has to be republished.
  • The cause of the mistakes have to be identified and steps taken to avoid a recurrence of this incident.
  • AfriForum should be informed of the cause of these inaccuracies and the preventative steps that will be taken.

According to Barend Uys, Head of Research and Development at AfriForum, the credibility of the NICD is in jeopardy because miscalculations such as these in a weekly report decreases the reliability of the work the NICD does. It also leads people to doubt the legitimacy of other publications by the institution.

“The NICD is funded by the taxpayers and taxpayers can therefore insist that the institution’s work should be of high standard. As civil rights watchdog, AfriForum, will hold the NICD accountable, in the interest of our members and communities in general. The time has come for the government to let go of the failed approach of state centralisation – decentralisation brings institutions closer to citizens, which improves accountability,” says Uys.

  • Read the letter here.

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