India was disappointed about the World Health Organization’s method and sources used to calculate the Covid-19 toll in India, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday.
India’s country-specific data published by the health ministry was not taken into account while calculating the toll, he added.
On May 5, the World Health Organisation had said that India’s Covid-19 toll could be 47 lakh – 10 times higher than what is being reported by the Ministry of Health. 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, according to the health body.
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 government had said that mathematical models should not be used to calculate excess deaths in India, especially when authentic data was published through the Civil Registration System.
On Monday, Mandaviya said that a resolution was also passed against the World Health Organization by the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare – a representative body of health ministers from all Indian states.
The member states had expressed their “collective disappointment and concern” with the global body’s method to calculate India’s Covid-19 toll, the health minister said.
He made the remarks during a session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
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”.
India rejected the World Health Organization’s toll figures. It said that “the validity and robustness of the models that the World Health Organization used [to determine excess deaths] were questionable”.