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WHO Covid toll report flawed and unacceptable, say states

NEW DELHI: Health ministers of several states, including Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab where non-BJP parties are in office, have unanimously slammed the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its estimate of 47 lakh excess deaths directly or indirectly linked to the Covid-19 pandemic in India in 2020 and 2021, calling it “unacceptable” and based on a “flawed mathematical assumption”, sources said.
Citing the recently-released civil registration system (CRS) data, health ministers, from around 20 states and Union territories at the 14th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare (CCHFW) in Gujarat, jointly passed a resolution rejecting the UN health agency’s estimates of excess deaths related to Covid-19.
WHO estimates are nearly 10 times higher than the country's official count of 4.8 lakh Covid-19 fatalities during the two years. “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 resolution, reviewed by TOI, said.
Several health ministers questioned WHO’s estimates and called them erroneous. Ministers and state representatives said Covid-19 fatalities are systematically recorded in the country in accordance with a legal process.
The resolution states that the Council is “deeply disappointed by WHO’s modelling based exorbitant estimates of excess mortality in the country during the pandemic phase”. The Council also sought “appropriate action” in this regard from health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. Many health ministers urged the Centre to raise the concerns against the UN health agency at the international level.
According to CRS data, 4.7 lakh additional ‘all-cause’ deaths were registered in India in 2020 — the first year of the pandemic, as compared to 2019.
According to the resolution, the council also noted that India mounted a “pre-emptive, proactive, comprehensive and science driven” response to Covid-19 pandemic as a whole of government and whole of nation approach.
“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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