India objects to WHO using mathematical models for excess COVID mortality estimates

World Thursday 05/May/2022 20:44 PM
India objects to WHO using mathematical models for excess COVID mortality estimates

New Delhi: India has strongly objected to the use of mathematical models by the World Health Organization (WHO) for projecting excess mortality estimates concerning coronavirus and has said that authentic data is available.

Refererring to excess mortality estimates, the Health Ministry said in a statement that the validity and robustness of the models used and methodology of data collection are questionable.

The statement said that India has been consistently objecting to the methodology adopted by WHO to project excess mortality estimates based on mathematical models and despite objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this modelling exercise, WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India's concerns.

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

"Registration of births and deaths in India is extremely robust and is governed by decades old statutory legal framework i.e. 'Births & Deaths Registration Act, 1969'. The Civil Registration data as well as Sample Registration data released annually by RGI has been used by a large number of researchers, policymakers and scientists both domestically and globally," the statement said.

It said India had pointed out the inconsistencies in the criteria and assumptions used by WHO to classify Countries into Tier I and I. It questioned the very basis for placing India into Tier II countries (for which a mathematical modelling estimate is used).

India had also underlined the fact that given the accuracy of the mortality data collected through an effective and robust statutory system, India doesn't deserve to be placed in Tier II countries.

"WHO till date has not responded to India's contention," the statement said.

It said 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.

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

New estimates from the WHO show that the full death toll associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021 was approximately 14.9 million (range 13.3 million to 16.6 million).

According to the WHO report, more than 4.7 million people in India are thought to have died because of COVID-19.

According to WHO, most of the excess deaths (84 per cent) are concentrated in South-East Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Some 68 per cent of excess deaths are concentrated in just 10 countries globally. Middle-income countries account for 81 per cent of the 14.9 million excess deaths (53 per cent in lower-middle-income countries and 28 per cent in upper-middle-income countries) over the 24-month period, with high-income and low-income countries each accounting for 15 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively.