Friday, July 19, 2024

WHO Argues With India Over Country’s Covid Death Toll

The World Health Organization is seeking to revise global figures, but New Delhi stands in the way of falsified data.

The director- general of the world health organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), visited India last month to launch the new Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Gujarat. The trip came amid controversy over the country’s COVID-19 death toll as the WHO seeks to revise global mortality figures from the pandemic. India’s official count numbers 520,000 deaths, but the WHO has estimated that as many as 4 million Indians have died from COVID-19 in a revision.

Indian officials have bristled at any estimate that exceeds the official count, questioning researchers’ methodology. Despite Tedros’s visit, the disagreement over the statistics is unlikely to be settled anytime soon, which does not bode well for India’s working relationship with the WHO.

India is world-famous for its doctors, and it produces some of the world’s best, from reputable institutions in and out of the country.

There are more medical colleges and teaching hospitals in India than anywhere else but according to WHO the discrepancy between New Delhi’s official count and WHO’s estimate begins with the chronically underfunded Indian public health system, which they say lacked the capacity to handle rising COVID-19 cases.

Furthermore, WHO is alleging that only around one-fifth of deaths in India are medically certified under normal circumstances; during the surge, many Indians died at home, leaving their cause of death unreported. WHO figures largely conform to estimates from scientific and medical professionals who are loyal to them.

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