The substantial increase in Bihar’s death toll – from 5,458 cumulative deaths on June 8 to 9,429 deaths on June 9 – is being hailed by health professionals as a significant start toward restoring faith in Covid-related mortality in the northern states. It also questions the government data credibility.
The State administration, prompted by the Patna High Court, which had flagged “irregularities” in the death count on May 17, conducted a 21-day investigation in every district at two levels – one team led by the Patna Medical College Principal and Medical Superintendent, as well as the Head of the Department of Health, and the other team involving the Civil Surgeon, ACMO, and a medical officer at the district level. Officially revealed is the corrected count, which shows that Bihar has 3,971 more deaths than previously reported.
The “unaccounted” deaths, according to Additional Secretary (Health) Pratyay Amrit, were due to the fact that some Covid-related deaths were not counted in private hospitals, then deaths in-transit to health facilities, under home isolation, and those dying of post-Covid-19 complications after testing negative. All of these deceased have now been identified. Deaths have increased by 200 percent in some districts, including Kaimur, East Champaran, Saharsa, and Begusarai.
While this has earned the government, particularly Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, harsh criticism from his political opponents, particularly Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejaswi Yadav, some in the Opposition admit that it is a welcome step given the state of existing health infrastructure in Bihar. “Before the aggrieved folks may get some recompense, we need to know what happened. The government has declared a compensation of Rs. 4 lakhs for those who have died; however, the dead must first be counted before the families can be rewarded.
This simply emphasizes how critical it is to improve the state’s health infrastructure. “We need to spend more on health,” said Shakeel Ahmad Khan, a former President of Jawaharlal Nehru University and a Congress MLA (JNU).
According to Dr. Sahajanand, a member of the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) Bihar chapter, revising the mortality count is a “good” step. “There is no harm in rectifying a mistake if one exists. There has always been a feeling that a large number of deaths have gone uncounted. The truth has come out now that the government has conducted a thorough investigation. Dr. Sahjanand stated, “It’s good to restore trust to the numbers.”
Dr. C. P. Thakur, a former Union Health Minister and a pioneer in Kala Azar research, said, there are several causes for the undercounting of deaths in Bihar. “You must understand that rural Bihar was spared in the first wave. The death toll remained extremely low. The administration was caught off guard by the second surge. In Bihar, data confidence is being restored, which is a positive thing. There could be a variety of reasons for underreporting, but I don’t believe this should be used as a political football. He added, “The government has done well to come clean.”
Sushil Modi, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and a BJP leader, goes on to say that the death toll was low for a variety of reasons, and that the government has no intention of concealing deaths. “My own brother passed away in Patna’s greatest private hospital. The hospital, however, did not record his death. Because individuals were unfamiliar with the protocol, many of these deaths at private hospitals and nursing homes in rural and metropolitan locations went unreported. In addition, many patients who tested negative eventually died from Covid-related problems. The government is providing $45,000 in compensation and relief to the victims’ widows and children; we’d like to know how many people died,” he said.
Other States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have recalculated death rates in the past. Recalibration occurs when numbers are not reported on time, or as per the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) requirement, with the correct details or ID; there could be a mismatch in details, spelling mistakes, and these must be checked before a Covid death is declared, according to Suresh Kakani, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation Greater of Mumbai (MCGM). Hospitals are so busy treating patients that paperwork piles up, making it difficult to retrace a specific patient’s history, he added.
As politician give reason which seems more like covering up situation, if they are true then its good. But if they only try to defending themselves on this serious matter. Then it is very awful that even in this pandemic government is not serious about their work and for the life’s of the people.
PC- India Today, Kalinga TV