India calls WHO data collection methodology 'unsound and scientifically questionable'

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
New Delhi, India Updated: May 05, 2022, 09:44 PM(IST)

Because of its size, diversity, and population of 1.3 billion people, the country has always opposed the implementation of a "one size fits all" approach and model, which may be appropriate to smaller countries but not to India, it claims. Photograph:( Reuters )

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As per WHO estimates India has 4.7 million Covid deaths, which is ten times the official amount and accounts for nearly a third of all Covid deaths worldwide

India expressed strong opposition on Thursday to the World Health Organization's (WHO) use of mathematical models to project excess mortality estimates linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Citing the lack of authentic data, the country questioned the validity and robustness of the models used as well as the data collection methodology.

As per WHO estimates India has 4.7 million Covid deaths, which is ten times the official amount and accounts for nearly a third of all Covid deaths worldwide.

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In total the organisation estimates that approximately 15 million people died in the past two years as a result of the coronavirus or its impact on overburdened health systems. This is more than double the official death toll of 6 million. 

Union Health Ministry in its statement said that India has frequently objected to the WHO's methodology for projecting excess death figures based on mathematical models.

"Despite India's objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this modelling exercise," the statement added, "WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India's concerns."

India further informed the WHO that due to the availability of accurate data released by the Registrar General of India (RGI) through the Civil Registration System (CRS), mathematical models should not be utilised to predict excess mortality numbers for India.

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India had questioned the WHO's standards and assumptions for classifying nations into Tier I and II, as well as the very foundation for classifying India into Tier II countries.

According to the statement, India does not deserve to be classified as a Tier II country because of the accuracy of mortality data obtained through an effective and comprehensive statutory system.

"WHO till date has not responded to India's contention. India has consistently questioned WHO's own admission that data in respect of seventeen Indian states was obtained from some websites and media reports and was used in their mathematical model."

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"This reflects a statistically unsound and scientifically questionable methodology of data collection for making excess mortality projections in case of India," the statement stated.

Because of its size, diversity, and population of 1.3 billion people, the country has always opposed the implementation of a "one size fits all" approach and model, which may be appropriate to smaller countries but not to India, it claims.

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