Govt Raises Objection Against WHO's Statement Of India With Max COVID Deaths

 - Sakshi Post

The government of India raised objections against World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates of the country's COVID deaths. In a report released on Thursday, WHO said that 4.7 million deaths were reported in India between January 2020 and December 2021 and the global figure is that 14.9 million people were killed either by COVID-19 directly or due to its impact on health systems.

India questioned the use of mathematical models by the WHO for projecting excess mortality estimates linked to COVID-19. 

"India has consistently questioned WHO's own admission that data in respect of seventeen Indian states was obtained from some websites and media reports and was used in their mathematical model," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

"This reflects a statistically unsound and scientifically questionable methodology of data collection for making excess mortality projections in case of India. Despite India's objection to the process, methodology, and outcome of this modelling exercise, WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India's concerns," the ministry said.

"Throughout the process of dialogue, engagement and communication with WHO, WHO has projected different excess mortality figures for India citing multiple models, which itself raises questions on the validity and robustness of the models used," the statement read.

The health ministry said that India has an extremely robust system of births and deaths registration and added, "In view of the availability of authentic data published through Civil Registration System (CRS) by Registrar General of India (RGI), mathematical models should not be used for projecting excess mortality numbers for India."

Dr VK Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog expressed his discontentment over the WHO report. Speaking to a news agency, he said, "You may apply that the estimate model where the systems are poor. But to apply assumptions, based on a sub-set of states, based on reports that come from the websites and media reports and then you come out with an exorbitant number is not tenable. We are disappointed by what WHO has done."
He further stated, "Unfortunately, in spite of our emphatic writing and rational communication at the ministerial level, they have chosen to use the number that is based on modelling assumptions - one size fits all kind of assumptions."

He also said, "We understand that this report has covered what they label as excess mortality, in the year spanning Covid-19. India has been telling WHO via diplomatic channels with data that we don't agree with the methodology followed for us."

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