WHO Covid Toll Report Flawed And Unacceptable, Say States

WHO estimates are nearly ten times higher than the official count of 4.8 lakh Covid-19 fatalities in the country over the two years.

1.48 lakh people died because of the pandemic in 2020 alone.
1.48 lakh people died because of the pandemic in 2020 alone.

Health Ministers of several states like Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab where non- BJP parties are in office have consistently slammed the World Health Organisation (WHO) for releasing estimates of 47 lakh extra deaths directly or indirectly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic in India in 2020 and 2021 according to sources calling it “unacceptable” and based on a “flawed mathematical assumption.”

Using recently released civil registration system (CRS) data, health ministers from around 20 states and union territories met in Gujarat for the 14th Conference of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare (CCHFW) and unanimously rejected the UN health agency’s estimates of excess deaths caused by Covid-19.

WHO estimates are nearly ten times higher than the official count of 4.8 lakh Covid-19 fatalities in the country over the two years.

Several health ministers questioned WHO’s estimates, calling them inaccurate. According to ministers and state representatives, Covid-19 fatalities are systematically recorded in the country in accordance with the law. According to the resolution, the Council is “deeply disappointed” by WHO’s “exorbitant estimates of excess mortality in the country during the pandemic phase.”

The resolution, reviewed by TOI, said, “These estimates drawn from flawed mathematical assumptions are unacceptable, in view of the fact that India counts deaths due to all causes systematically through a transparent and legal process.”

The Council also requested that health minister Mansukh Mandaviya take “appropriate action” in this regard. Many health ministers urged the Centre to raise concerns about the UN health agency on a global scale. According to CRS data, there were 4.7 lakh more ‘all-cause’ deaths in India in 2020 — the first year of the pandemic — than in 2019.

“India has a robust, legally mandated, comprehensive system of death registration under the “Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969”. Under the Act, the states/UTs report and document actual number of deaths counts of India,” the resolution noted.

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