The Sambhavna Trust Clinic, Bhopal the mainstay of the survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster for the last 25 years, is facing closure. Without its services, the Bhopal Disaster survivors are in danger of losing the only reliable health care service for their special needs.
In November 2019 the Sambhavna Trust, Bhopal’s registration under FCRA was cancelled, bank accounts frozen and efforts to re-register have been denied. The Trust is unable to access foreign funds that they had raised through small individual donations from ordinary people. This has affected both the medical intervention programme that has been running for decades, and salaries of staff. The Trust is needs to raise Rs. 1.25 Crore in the next 2-3 months to continue to run the Clinic for the next six months.
The Clinic started with funds raised from thousands of British donors who responded to an advertisement published by the Bhopal Medical Appeal (BMA) in the Guardian newspaper in London. This was followed by several more periodic ads that generated funds with small contributions from some 30,000 British donors that were collected and routed to Sambhavna following rules laid down by the Indian government for regulation of foreign contributions to non-government organizations.
With the cancellation of the FCRA registration, the Clinic cannot access these funds. Nor does it receive any other grants or financial support. All staff, many of them are themselves disaster survivors, voluntarily accepted a 30% cut in salaries from November 2019. So far Sambhavna has been able to pay its staff only half the downgraded salaries for January.
Health Situation in Bhopal
Official data till January 16, 2021 show that gas exposed people died of COVID 19 at a rate nearly seven times of those in the Bhopal district who were not gas exposed. This is because the rate of co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, heart and kidney diseases are so much higher for those exposed to Union Carbide’s poisonous gas Methyl Isocyanate. Data on 1,21,401 gas exposed persons from a government hospital specially built for the survivors of the disaster show that 60% have chronic lung diseases and 50 % have chronic Cardiovascular diseases. Hyperglycemia (Diabetes), Uremia (kidney diseases), and Pulmonary fibrosis (lung disease) and Acidosis have been listed by the National Library of Medicine, USA (the world’s largest repository of medical information) as some of the chronic consequences of exposure to methyl Isocyanate.
The government health care system continues to remain ineffective in addressing the chronic diseases caused by toxic exposure. Posts of 80 % of the Specialists and 65 % of doctors in the government hospitals have remained unfilled for the last 20 years. Symptomatic treatment continues to be the mainstay of medical care and the indiscriminate use of painkillers, steroids and psychotropic drugs in government hospitals are compounding the injuries caused by toxic exposure. Last month a Supreme Court appointed Monitoring Committee reported that facilities for addressing the chronic multisystemic health problems of the survivors were non-existent in the main hospital for survivors.
The Sambhavna Clinic currently has 36,000 plus survivor patients on its registers for long term care. Almost 40 % of the survivors receiving care at the Clinic have a per capita income of less than Rs. 1000 per month and 65 % of those registered for care are women. The Clinic has developed safe and effective treatment strategies through integration of Ayurveda and Yoga with modern medicine. The Clinic manufactures over 80 types of Ayurvedic medicines from its own gardens that grow over a 100 varieties of medicinal plants. With an annual budget of Rs. 2.5 crore and a staff of 60 (half of whom are Bhopal survivors themselves), the Clinic also carries out community health work and conducts research on long-term health impact of toxic exposure. Sambhavna’s ongoing work against the Pandemic in a population of 40,000 has resulted in lower infection rates, illnesses and deaths compared to the entire district and this has received international appreciation.
This Clinic that has been widely acknowledged as the mainstay of the survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster, providing free medical consultation, pathological investigations, Panchakarma procedures, yoga instructions and dispense free allopathic and ayurvedic medicines to over 100 survivor patients every day is on the verge of closure.
(For further details, please reach out to Satinath Sarangi at [email protected] and/or the Trust at [email protected])
We appeal to you to please donate to Sambhavna Trust to help keep open the free Clinic for Bhopal survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster. Please send your donations to :
SAVING A/C NO. 10085216291
IFSC Code SBIN0030003
STATE BANK OF INDIA
CHOWK BAZAR BRANCH
113, Marwari Road, BHOPAL – 462001 (MADHYA PRADESH)
TEL. NO. 0755 – 2536188Email: [email protected]–
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