Govt To Form Panel For Certifying Covid Deaths

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Ranchi : Acting on the directions of the Union health ministry in the light of the Supreme Court guidelines for proper documentation of Covid-19 deaths with specific mention of cause, the state health department on Thursday evening circulated a set of guidelines for issuing death certificates of those who died of Covid-19 in Jharkhand.

An order in this regard was issued by additional chief secretary (health) Arun Kumar Singh who directed all deputy commissioners to take necessary action in this regard. According to the letter, a four-member Covid-19 Death Ascertaining Committee (CDAC) is to be constituted by respective deputy commissioners for issuing medical certificate on cause of death (MCCD).

The simplified guidelines are a result of the Supreme court orders passed in June this year wherein it was hearing a case where the family of deceased had argued that they weren’t satisfied with the cause of death provided in the death certificate by hospitals.

As per Singh’s order, the DCs have been asked to constitute a four-member CDAC which will be chaired by an officer of additional collector rank and will have members, including chief medical officer (CMO) of the district, additional chief medical officer/ Principal/ Head of department of medicine from medical college and a subject matter expert as nominated by CMO for issuance of official document.

The committee has also been provided with a detailed procedure to follow which include a 30-day time limit for issuing the MCCD from the day of its application. Apart from that, the official document has to be issued after verifying all the facts related to the patient with the available records. The copy of the certificate is also to be shared with chief registrars of the state/UTs after issuance of the certificate and if family of the deceased raises any grievances that too has to be examined and remedial measures should be proposed by the committee.

Epidemiologist Dr Praveen Karn said: “This is being done to ensure that all Covid-19 deaths are recorded and certified with a cause of death by a medical practitioner. Accurate documentation on underlying cause of death keeping in mind other medical conditions becomes invaluable to estimate mortality statistics for disease burden estimations.”

Dr Karn added that this will also help kin of deceased patients as well as healthcare workers who are to be provided compensation or insurance through various social welfare schemes of the state and the Centre.

State disaster management minister Banna Gupta said that they will be providing Rs 50,000 to family of every deceased patient who succumbed to the virus as per Union government plan. “Apart from that we will also bring in additional welfare package and that is in discussion stage,” he said.

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