Blame game over inclusion of smallpox, polio deaths in Delhi govt report
The directorate also explained how the two people whose death had been attributed to smallpox were from “out of Delhi”, with their addresses registered as Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh and Chhapra, Bihar.Updated: Aug 03, 2017, 23:14 IST
A day after Hindustan Times published how a Delhi government report said two people died due to small pox and 11 because of polio in 2016, authorities have started blaming each other over who got it wrong.
Smallpox, the highly contagious disease, was eradicated from the world in 1980 and India was declared polio-free in 2014.
The Delhi government has sought clarifications or confirmation from the concerned civic bodies on the “discrepancies”.
“After getting clarification/confirmation from the local bodies, the discrepancies, if any, will be rectified accordingly,” said a statement from Delhi government’s directorate of economics and statistics, the department responsible for preparing the report.
The directorate also explained how the two people whose death had been attributed to smallpox were from “out of Delhi”, with their addresses registered as Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh and Chhapra, Bihar.
“This is clearly a case of misclassification of death. And, even if the doctors had suspected smallpox or polio, they should have notified the appropriate authorities as these are notifiable diseases. We should not be finding out about it in a yearend report,” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
“In institutional cases (where deaths occur in hospitals or nursing homes), the cause of death is assigned and certified by the medical practitioner or doctor who had last attended to the deceased. Thereafter, coding as per ICD-10 (internationally accepted method of classifying diseases) is done by the coders of the institution. This data are further transmitted to the local body concerned online for registration of the death,” the statement explained.
“This shows that our doctors need to undergo training – one, for proper certification of deaths and two, for processes for proper notification of diseases. Such incidents shake up the confidence in our reporting mechanisms,” said Dr Reddy.
In reported cases of Polio, the age of deceased is ranging between 25-81 years, except one case where age is not stated, the statement explained implying that the people had contracted the disease years ago.
“Polio is an acute disease. When it happens, it may leave a small percentage of people paralysed. But, an infection which happened a decade ago cannot kill a person,” said an expert on condition of anonymity.
No wildpolio cases have been reported in Delhi since 2009. “No cases of Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) or vaccine-acquired polio has been reported in Delhi in the last one year,” said a Delhi government official.