A week after the Centre rejected the World Health Organisation’s methodology of calculating Covid-19 toll, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for reforms within the health body on Thursday.
“The World Health Organisation must be reformed and strengthened to build a more resilient global health security architecture,” said Modi at the second global Covid-19 virtual summit. “As a responsible member of the global community, India is ready to play a key role in these efforts.”
India’s Covid-19 toll could be 47 lakh – 10 times higher than what is being reported by the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization had on May 5. India was also among 20 countries that accounted for more than 80% of the estimated excess global deaths associated with Covid-19 between 2020 and 2021, the health body added.
Excess deaths are the divergence between all-cause deaths reported during pandemic years and in normal years. The numbers are an indicator of undercounting of deaths caused by Covid-19.
The World Health Organization estimated the excess mortalities by calculating the difference between the “number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years”.
Multiple reports have pointed out that guidelines have not been followed in cases of deaths caused due to post-Covid complications in India and that crematoriums were not maintaining proper records of fatalities. The Centre has dismissed all these reports.
On Thursday, Modi said that the pandemic continues to “disrupt lives, supply chains, and tests the resilience of open societies”.
India has the largest vaccination program in the world, having fully vaccinated almost 90% of the adult population, and more than 5 crore children, said the prime minister. “In India, we adopted a people-centric policy strategy against the pandemic,” he added.
As of Friday, India has administered 190.99 crore vaccine doses, according to the Union health ministry.
“India manufactures four World Health Organisation-approved vaccines and has the capacity to produce five billion doses this year,” said Modi. India has supplied over 20 crore doses to 98 countries, bilaterally and through the Covax, a global distribution system for Covid-19 vaccines, he said.
On Friday, India reported 2,831 new Covid-19 cases. The daily positivity rate stands at at 0.58%. Currently, there are 18,604 active cases. In the last 24 hours, 3,295 persons recovered.