November 2, 2021 11:19:06 pm
Following the Supreme Court’s order in June directing payment of ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 to those who died due to Covid-19, the Gujarat health department issued a resolution dated October 29 notifying the formation of Covid-19 Death Ascertaining Committee (CDAC).
For district jurisdictions, that is jurisdictions except for municipal corporation jurisdictions, the CDAC will comprise five members, headed by the Resident Additional Collector and chief district health officer as member-secretary. Other members are chief district medical officer, physician from the district hospital or the medical college attached to the district hospital, and professor for community medicine from the attached medical college.
The office of this committee shall be at the office of the district collector.
For municipal corporation jurisdictions, the CDAC shall be headed by the deputy municipal commissioner of health with the medical officer of health of the municipal corporation concerned as member-secretary. Other members shall include chief district medical officer, physician from the district hospital or from the medical college attached to the hospital, and a professor for community medicine from the attached medical college.
The CDACs shall be responsible for issuing the ‘Official Document for Covid-19 Death’, as prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare under its Disaster Management Cell in September.
MoHFW and ICMR, in its revised guidelines for official document for Covid-19 death, issued following Supreme Court’s directions, notes that cases are defined as those which are diagnosed through a positive RTPCR/molecular or rapid antigen tests or those “clinically determined through investigations in a hospital/in-patient facility by treating physician while admitted in the hospital/in-patient facility.” The guidelines also note that deaths occuring due to poisoning, suicide, homicide, accidents etc while being Covid-19 positive, “will not be considered as Covid-19 deaths.”
The MOHFW and ICMR guidelines state that deaths occurring within 30 days of testing positive, will be treated as Covid-19 death, even if such death occurred outside the hospital or in-patient facility. However, for death beyond 30 days, the patient’s death must’ve to have occurred in the hospital or in-patient facility, to qualify as Covid death.
In cases where Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) is not available or the next of kin of the deceased is not satisfied with the cause of death given in the MCCD form, or the MCCD issued does not factor in the above scenarios, the Gujarat government’s resolution states that the next of kin of the deceased have to submit an application requesting for the ‘Official document for Covid-19 death’ along with “supporting evidence” before the district collector at his or her residential area’s jurisdiction, following which the CDAC committee shall be issuing the “official document “ upon due verification and examination.
In case, an application for issuance of the ‘official document for COVID19 death’ is rejected for not meeting the criteria/conditions as laid down by the MOHFW and ICMR guidelines, the same “should be noted with clear reasons,” the resolution further states.
The resolution also empowers the member-secretary of the CDACs (CDHO/MOH) to maintain all records of this procedure.
MOHFW and ICMR guidelines state that applications for issuance and redressal of grievances “shall be disposed off within 30 days of submission of application/grievance.”
The Gujarat health department’s resolution outlines that for the next of kin to obtain a copy of MCCD of the deceased, they must submit an application to the official discharging duty as birth/death registrar at the place of occurrence of death, requesting for the copy.
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