Death toll in major Tamil Nadu Govt hospitals is 13.7 times the reported figure claims report by NGO

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
CHENNAI Published: Jun 15, 2021, 03:23 PM(IST)

People wait to receive a meal distributed by an humanitarian organisation during a complete lockdown imposed by the the state government as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Chennai on May 25, 2021 Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

According to the NGO, their report was prepared by comparing the Jan-May death certificates data for the years 2019, 2020, 2021.

Presenting their report that indicated massive underreporting of COVID-19 deaths in major Tamil Nadu Government Hospitals, NGO ‘Arappor Iyakkam’ urged the State Government to take corrective steps.

The recommendations urged that the Government must instruct hospitals to issue a medical certificate for cause of death (MCCD) as per ICMR guidelines.

The non-provision of such certificates denies the bereaved families their right to claim compensation from the Government, it added. 

According to the NGO, their report was prepared by comparing the Jan-May death certificates data for the years 2019, 2020, 2021.

The six hospitals for which they found the requisite data were spread across the state - Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Vellore, Karur, Tiruppur. 

Their reasoning is that the death data (when comparing April-May for three consecutive years) would only remain the same or increase slightly owing to population increase.

The drastic increase they have observed can only be attributed to COVID-19, as there is no other major cause. 

With regards to mortality data of April-May 2019, the figure is 4,437 and for the year 2020, it is 3,261. Whereas for the period Apri-May 2021, it is 11,699.

However, as per the daily Health department bulletin quoted by the NGO, the death figures in these hospitals only comes to 863.

In its state-wide estimation based on April-May deaths, the report says, “approximating the same underreporting factor for 8.4 to 8.8 times, the likely number of deaths in Tamil Nadu may be between 1.08-1.25lakh, as opposed to the reported number of 12,943. 

As a corrective step, the NGO recommended that the Government put out death certificates, mortality data and its consolidation for the hospital as well as home deaths for all three years - 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Read in App