Raising concerns over the exercise, India had written nearly a dozen letters to the UN body in the last fourfive months asking it for a clarification regarding the methodology and processes used to gather data. These were met with a lukewarm response.
“Even during the member consultation meeting… India raised its flag thrice to speak but was given a chance only towards the end, and even then, they weren’t able to convince us,” a senior Indian official said.
India has consistently questioned WHO’s own admission that data in respect of seventeen Indian states was obtained from some websites and media reports and was used in their mathematical model.
This reflected a statistically unsound and scientifically questionable methodology of data collection for making excess mortality projections in case of India.
In a strongly-worded objection, the Union Health Ministry had contended India did not ‘deserve’ to be placed in the Tier-II countries category. To date, the WHO has not responded to India’s contention.
The WHO has been blamed on many occasions in the past for its failure to discharge its responsibilities given by the UN. Its report on Covid-19 mortality not only fails to inspire confidence but also leaves it open to the charge of being a global hypocrite, largely bending to certain clients.
Significantly, India is not the only country that has questioned the credibility of the WHO estimates. Several other middle-income countries, including Brazil, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Ethiopia, have slammed the world body.
If the purpose of the dubious exercise is to prepare the world for future pandemics, the effect of the report is exactly the opposite. In fact, the Narendra Modi Government has led the global fight against Covid-19 from the front. India was the first to declare a nationwide lockdown at the outset. And despite its large population and limited resources, it is winning the war against the virus faster and better.
The case fatality ratio (CFR), which estimates the proportion of deaths among identified confirmed cases, is the best measure to gauge how successful a government has been in the fight against a global pandemic like Covid-19.
At just 1.45 pc, India, undoubtedly, has the lowest CFR in the world, which speaks volumes about the stellar role played by the Modi Government in the decisive war against Covid-19.
Compared to countries like Brazil, Canada, the US, and Russia, India has a far greater population density and yet, India has had the lowest deaths per million, which again speaks volumes about the war-footing on which the Government mounted an offensive against the global pandemic.
Also, the one million tests per day figure in India is five times more than the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is a clear reminder to all and sundry that the Modi Government has been at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19.
After rolling out its countrywide inoculation program in January 2021, India has sent out 5.6 million doses of anti-Covid-19 vaccines as gifts to needy countries. Regarded as the world’s vaccine manufacturing hub, India also shipped 10 million commercial units to 17 countries in West Asia, Africa, and Latin America early this year.
India is the largest hub of pharmaceuticals and meets 20 per cent of the world’s demand for generic medicines and more than 60 per cent of the global demand for vaccines. Despite domestic demand, India supplied hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and paracetamol tablets, as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves, and other medical supplies to many countries in the fight against Covid-19.
According to one estimate, India has spent more than $16 million on therapeutics, test kits, and other medical equipment for about 90 countries during the current pandemic. Even the World Health Organization recently recognized India’s vaccine altruism as a facilitator of equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, India’s detractors have quoted the oft-repeated motto but science does not lie to support the WHO report. They would do well to read Darrell Huff’s 1954 classic: How to Lie with Statistics