New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday rejected some media reports on higher Covid-19 death figure based on data from the National Health Mission’s Health Management Information System (HMIS), making it clear that these are “conjectures” and “speculations” without any substantial basis.
In a statement, the MoHF said there have been some speculative media reports claiming higher fatality figures due to Covid-19 comparing data from the Civil Registration System (CRS) and HMIS to draw erroneous inferences.
“Such reports are conjectures and speculations without any substantial basis,” the Ministry said.
Citing the death numbers reported in the HMIS, the Ministry said, the media report goes on to say that “In the absence of other information, these deaths should all be considered as Covid-19 deaths”.
As per the media report itself “over 2,50,000 deaths were from causes not known”, said the Ministry.
“Attributing any death to Covid-19 without any basis than based on empirical data is fallacious and such inferences are mere figment of imagination.”
It is reiterated that the union government has been transparent in its approach to Covid data management and a robust system of recording all Covid-19 related deaths already exists, said the MoHF, adding that all States and Union Territories have been entrusted with the responsibility to update the data in this particular system on a continuous basis.
In order to avoid inconsistency in number of deaths being reported, the Ministry said, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued ‘Guidance for appropriate recording of Covid-19 related deaths in India’ for correct recording of all deaths as per ICD-10 codes recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) for mortality coding.
Besides, the Ministry said the states and the UTs have been urged through various formal communications, multiple video conferences and through deployment of Central teams for correct recording of deaths in accordance with the prescribed guidelines.
“Union Health Ministry has also regularly emphasized the need for a robust reporting mechanism for monitoring district wise cases and deaths on a daily basis.”
It is a well-known fact that there shall always be differences in mortality recorded during a profound and prolonged public health crisis such as Covid pandemic and well conducted research studies on mortalities are usually done after the event when data on mortalities are available from reliable sources, said the statement.
The methodologies for such studies are well established, the data sources are defined as also the valid assumptions for computing mortality, it stated.