India, Pakistan challenge WHO statistics over Covid-related deaths
A WHO report stated that the real number of Covid-related deaths in India and Pakistan were 4.7 million and 260,000 respectively - ten and eight times the official figures released by New Delhi and Islamabad.
Pakistani authorities “have been gathering data manually on Covid deaths, it could have a difference of a few hundred but it can't be in hundreds of thousands. [The WHO report] is completely baseless," Islamabad’s Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel was quoted by NDTV as saying.
Dr Faisal Sultan, one of the advisors to former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, also challenged the figures.
“Our corona death record was accurate but it is not possible to have a 100% correct death toll, it could be 10-30% less but to say it was eight times less is unbelievable,” Dr Sultan said, according to Pakistan’s The News International.
Islamabad has officially recorded 30,369 deaths related to Covid-19.
Excess #COVID Mortality Estimates by @WHO: A rejoinder#India strongly objects to use of mathematical models for projecting excess mortality estimates in view of availability of authentic datahttps://t.co/u51mfvzH6t pic.twitter.com/OHP6e32W6y— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) May 5, 2022
The comments come after New Delhi sharply criticised the WHO’s figures, calling into question the methodology used to collect the statistics.
“India has been consistently objecting to the methodology adopted by WHO to project excess mortality estimates based on mathematical models,” said India’s health ministry in a statement released on Thursday, adding that the organisation “conveniently chose to ignore the available data submitted by India.”
State government officials also rejected the WHO’s figures, with the health minister of Karnataka in southern India accusing the WHO of attempting to “tarnish” India’s reputation.
India has been one of the worst-hit countries during the pandemic, and struggled to provide adequate health care to the millions of people who were affected during a devastating second wave in early 2021. New Delhi has officially recorded around 481,000 Covid-19 related deaths.