Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses a press conference during the opening of a high dependency maternity and new born unit at the Othaya-KNH hospital annex in Nyeri County on May 7, 2021. 

| Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Do Health ministry figures on Covid-19 really add up?

What you need to know:

  • Questions raised on veracity of database as discrepancies are recorded.
  • Source says a new team at the tallying centre could be making mistakes.

Inconsistencies in the Covid-19 numbers reported this past month have raised questions on veracity of the database at the Ministry of Health.

Nation Newsplex, the data journalism desk of the Nation, has noted huge discrepancies in the number of cases recorded, especially over the past few weeks.

The new cases reported by the ministry on April 2 were 1,856. However, the total number of cases reported in counties was 1,778.

Again on April 3, the ministry reported 1,184 new coronavirus infections while the county figures added up to 1,182.

Another anomaly was on April 8, when the Ministry of Health reported 1,698 new Covid-19 patients, while the number in counties added to 1,691, a difference of seven.

On May 19, the Health ministry reported that a total 117,235 people had recovered following 318 new recoveries. The figure was inconsistent with the previous day number, when the total was 113,917. Adding the new number should have brought the total recoveries to 114,235.

The health ministry however corrected the mistake after it was brought to their attention.

“There was an arithmetic error in our reporting yesterday where we had reported that our total recoveries were 117,235 instead of 114,235. We regret the error,” read the statement from MoH.

Don’t add up

On May 11, the number of infections was 112,298, but after adding 129 cases reported on that day, the tally was 112,427. The ministry, however, gave a total of 113,057.

The numbers of people aged 58 and above who have been vaccinated against the illness also don’t add up.

At one point, the figures rose to more than half a million, then dropped to under 300,000 in the subsequent days.

On May 3, the Health ministry announced that 516,616 people had received the shots but the number dropped to 275,453 the following day.

On May 5, the government said 524,720 people had been vaccinated against Covid-19, only for the number to drop to 278,642 the following day.

When we compiled the confirmed cases by county from the daily media releases, it did not match the county numbers provided in the detailed situation report done by the ministry.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe could not be reached for comment, but a source at the ministry, who sought anonymity, attributed the anomalies to a new team at Emergency Operations Centre of the infectious diseases unit.