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Speakers at health conference object to WHO report on Covid deaths in India

According to the report, there were 4.7 million Covid deaths in India — 10 times the official figures and almost a third of Covid deaths globally.

Covid Cremation India
India is likely to raise the issue at the World Health Assembly and required multilateral forums. (File)

The ongoing 14th conference of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare (CCHFW) strongly objected to a WHO report estimating 4.7 million (47 lakh) Covid-related fatalities in India as baseless and devoid of facts, sources said.

In its report released on Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that nearly 15 million people were killed either by the coronavirus or by its impact on overwhelmed health systems in the past two years, more than double the official death toll of six million. Most of the fatalities were in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas.

According to the report, there were 4.7 million Covid deaths in India — 10 times the official figures and almost a third of Covid deaths globally.

The three-day conference of the CCHFW, an apex advisory body of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), began here on Thursday. It is being chaired by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. Around 20 health ministers and representatives of some states are attending it.

The Union health ministry on Thursday strongly objected to the use of mathematical models by the WHO for projecting excess mortality estimates linked to the coronavirus pandemic in view of the availability of authentic data, saying validity and robustness of the models used and methodology of data collection are questionable.

India is likely to raise the issue at the World Health Assembly and required multilateral forums, sources in the ministry said.

India has been consistently objecting to the methodology adopted by the WHO to project excess mortality estimates based on mathematical models, the ministry said in a statement.

“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,” it said.

India had also informed the WHO that in view of the availability of authentic data published through the Civil Registration System (CRS) by the Registrar General of India (RGI), mathematical models should not be used for projecting excess mortality numbers for India.

“India firmly believes that such robust and accurate data generated through Legal Framework of a Member State must be respected, accepted and used by WHO rather than relying on less than accurate mathematical projection based on non-official sources of data,” the statement added.

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