At World Health Assembly, India expresses dismay over WHO’s excess mortality report

New Delhi, May 23 (PTI) India on Monday expressed dismay and concern over the WHO’s recent report on all-cause excess mortality estimates, saying authentic data published by the statutory authority has not been taken into account.

Addressing the World Health Assembly, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya conveyed the collective disappointment of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare, a representative body of health ministers from all states of India, which had passed a unanimous resolution regarding the approach and methodology of the World Health Organization (WHO) on its excess mortality report.

In a report released on May 5, the WHO estimated that nearly 15 million people were killed globally either by the coronavirus or by its impact on overwhelmed health systems in the past two years, more than double the official death count of six million. Most of the fatalities were in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas.

According to the report, there were 4.7 million Covid deaths in India — 10 times the official figure and almost a third of Covid deaths globally.

“India would like to express its disappointment over the manner in which the report by WHO on all-cause mortality was prepared and published ignoring the concerns expressed by India and other countries over the methodology and sources of data, setting aside the country specific authentic data from the statutory authority of India,” Mandaviya said in his address at the 75th session of the World Health Assembly at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

Mandaviya exhorted India’s commitment to build a more resilient global health security architecture.

“As highlighted by India’s Prime Minister, there is a need to build a resilient global supply chain to enable equitable access to vaccines and medicines, streamlining WHO’s approval process for vaccines and therapeutics and strengthen WHO to build a more resilient global health security architecture,” he said.

As a responsible member of the global community, India is ready to play a key role in these efforts, he added.

The minister noted, “India believes that this year’s theme linking peace and health, is timely and pertinent because there can be no sustainable development and universal health and wellbeing without peace.” PTI