Medical care not reaching Bhopal gas victims?

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 05, 2012 18:00 hrs

The Sambhavna Trust Clinic of Bhopal has expressed deep concern on the deterioration of medical care of the people exposed to Union Carbide's poisons and the absence of medical research on exposure induced health problems.

The Sambhavna Trust Clinic or Bhopal People´s Health and Documentation Clinic, is a charitable trust run by a group of doctors, scientists, writers and social workers who have been involved with various aspects of the Union Carbide disaster (Bhopal disaster) in Bhopal ever since its occurrence in December 1984.

The Sambhavna staff members said that their charitable clinic has provided free medical care to well over 27 thousand survivors and people exposed to contaminated ground water in the last 16 years.

According to them between 120 and 150 thousand people are still battling chronic illnesses and majority of them are dependent on the six hospitals run by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department (BGTRRD) and the Bhopal Memorial hospital.

The members said that the Supreme Court of India passed a strong order in August this year bestowing special powers on the Monitoring Committee for the hospitals run by BGTRRD.

They bemoaned the fact that despite its empowerment the Monitoring Committee has not been able to improve the situation of the hospitals.

They said that they had hoped that the taking over of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) would improve conditions but in the last two years the opposite has happened.

The Sambhavna staff also expressed disappointment on the absence of any research activity in the National Institute for Research on Environmental Health (NIREH) set up by the ICMR more than two years back.

The members said that a study by the Madhya Pradesh government's Centre for Rehabilitation Studies has shown that exposure to contaminated ground water had caused diseases of the respiratory and the gastro intestinal system and that of eyes and skin.

They said that the people exposed to contaminated ground water are not given free treatment in the hospitals run by the BGTRRD.

The Sambhavna members said that they have developed over a dozen treatment protocols combining modern medicine, Ayurveda and Yoga that ensure safe, simple, effective and inexpensive treatment for people poisoned by Union Carbide.

They said that they will be organizing a poster exhibition on environmental health from Nov 30 to Dec 2 at MP Nagar and will be holding a candlelight vigil at 6 PM on Dec 2.

The staff members will also organize a rally from Bharat Talkies crossing to the Union Carbide factory at 11 AM on Dec 3.

On the intervening night of Dec 2/3, 1984, the inhabitants of the city of Bhopal became victims of the world´s worst industrial disaster. 40 tonnes of methyl iscocyanate (MIC - a highly volatile toxic chemical) stored at the pesticide plant - owned by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), USA - was contaminated with water and other impurities.

As a result, a mixture of deadly gases escaped from the factory killing several thousands of people and inflicting grievous injuries on at least 500,000 others.

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