Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar was responding to a question on WHO’s estimation of deaths in India

The methodology used by WHO to project excess deaths due to Covid-19 in India suffers from erroneous assumption and is unscientific, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply in the Parliament on Tuesday. She said India had registered its strong objection to this methodology.

The Minister said, “India had objected to the 'one size fits all' approach adopted by the WHO as it might be true for smaller countries but cannot be applied to a huge and diverse country like India which had varied case trajectory across multiple states and at different periods during the pandemic.”

She was responding to a question on the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that the number of people who died of COVID-19 in India is 47 lakh.

As on July 16, 2022, as reported by states and UTs, 5,25,660 deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported in the country, she said, quoting India's official data.

The WHO, based on a mathematical modeling exercise, has, however, projected an estimate of about 47 lakh excess deaths in India associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic, between January 1 2020 and December 31, 2021. This is primarily an estimate of deaths due to all causes which includes deaths due to COVID-19 also.

“The mathematical modelling- based approach by WHO suffered from a number of inconsistencies and erroneous assumptions,” the Minister said.

“India had highlighted against the classification of certain countries under tier-1 while they had displayed data inconsistencies in reporting and placing India under tier 2 while India has followed a robust system of data reporting,” Pawar said.

She said WHO was asked to explain the unscientific approach wherein its projections were based on data from only 17 states and UTs obtained from websites/RTIs taken at varied periods of time and extrapolated to the entire country.