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Gujarat sees drop in medically certified deaths, jump in deaths due to respiratory diseases

Of the 5.23 lakh deaths registered in the state in 2020, which saw the outbreak of Covid-19, only about 1.07 lakh deaths were medically certified.

Written by Sohini Ghosh | Ahmedabad |
May 27, 2022 11:42:24 am
As many as 21.3 per cent and 23.4 per cent of registered deaths in Gujarat were medically certified in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

Only 20.6 per cent of the registered deaths in 2020 in Gujarat were medically certified — which marks a drop compared to the previous two years, reveals Report on Medical Certification of Cause of Death-2020 released by the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) Wednesday.

Gujarat also fares worse than the national average of 22.5 per cent of registered deaths being medically certified.

Of the 5.23 lakh deaths registered in the state in 2020, which saw the outbreak of Covid-19, only about 1.07 lakh deaths were medically certified.

As many as 21.3 per cent and 23.4 per cent of registered deaths in Gujarat were medically certified in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

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The state, however, has seen a significant jump in deaths medically certified to be due to diseases of respiratory and circulatory systems in 2020 when compared to 2018 and 2019.

Nationally, percentage of registered deaths which are medically certified has an increase by 1.8 percentage points from 2019.

Leading the way nationally among smaller states are Goa, Manipur (where 100 per cent of registered deaths were medically certified), and among the bigger states are Delhi (56.6 per cent of registered deaths medically certified), Tamil Nadu (43 per cent of registered deaths medically certified).

For purposes of the Report on Medical Certification of Cause of Death-2020, a separate group Covid-19 was added for data collection after the pandemic broke out in 2020.

Nationally, nearly nine per cent of 18 lakh medically certified registered deaths were due to Covid-19. Gujarat, however, only saw four per cent of 1.07 lakh medically certified deaths to be due to Covid-19.

Across India, as per the MCCD report, a total of 1.60 lakh were medically certified to have died due to Covid-19, which is 11,600 more deaths than what Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had declared as of December 21, 2020.

Notably, Gujarat recorded 4,306 deaths due to Covid19 — the exact number declared as per the state health bulletin, as of December 31, 2020.

However, in Gujarat more than 19 per cent of the medically certified deaths were due to diseases of the respiratory system in 2020 — the share of deaths due to the same in the past two years was 8-9 per cent of all medically certified deaths .

Gujarat’s share of medically certified deaths due to respiratory diseases is second only to Rajasthan (22.1%), across India.

Significantly, across India, for deaths medically certified to be due to diseases of the respiratory diseases between 2002 and 2020, 2020 has seen the highest share till date of all years, with 10 per cent of the medically certified deaths in 2020 resulting from diseases of the respiratory diseases. Medically certified deaths due to diseases of the circulatory system comprised nearly 32 per cent of all medically certified deaths. This becomes important given the respiratory and circulatory system involvement seen in the Covid-19 disease.

The three causes of deaths combined among reported deaths — Covid-19, diseases of the respiratory system and diseases of the circulatory system — resulted in 51 deaths per 100 reported medically certified deaths in India.

Gujarat too sees a similar burden of the three categories — 51.8 percent — indicating that nearly 56,000 of the total 1.07 lakh medically certified deaths were due to diseases of the circulatory system, respiratory system and Covid-19.

Notably, the MCCD report notes that as “only selected hospitals, and that too mostly from urban areas, are covered at present under the scheme,” the medical certification on cause of death profile in the report “may not yield the reliable pattern of cause specific mortality prevalent in the states/country,” cautioning data-users to keep this in view to “take due caution while deducing the mortality pattern.”

While the 2019 MCCD report recorded that 3,742 medical institutions in Gujarat were covered under MCCD, of which 1,622 institutions reported MCCD data as per the national list of tabulation, this data point is missing for Gujarat in this year’s report.

Medical certification of deaths at institutions require filling up of MCCD form 4 while those at home require filling up of form 4A, by a medical practitioner specifying the cause of death, including the immediate cause as well as antecedent cause.

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