Report’s preliminary findings highlight higher rates of birth defects

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Sambhavna Trust report’s preliminary findings highlight higher rates of birth defects in Bhopal’s toxic gas/ contaminated water exposed population than in non-exposed.

On the occasion of the 31st Anniversary of the Union carbide disaster in Bhopal. Members of the Sambhavna Trust Clinic highlighted the urgent need for identification and treatment of children with congenital malformations born to parents exposed to Union carbide’s poisons. They said that the preliminary findings of a large scale study by the clinic indicate that compared to unexposed parents far too many children are born with congenital malformations to parents with acute exposure to toxic gas or chronic exposure to contaminated water.

The Sambhavna Clinic that provides free medical care to the survivors of the gas disaster and those expose to contaminated groundwater, has recently completed a study involving over one hundred thousand persons from about 20 thousand families.

The study population includes almost equal numbers of individuals with fur different kinds of exposure history- exposed to gas in 1984, exposed to contaminated water, exposed to gas and subsequently water, and unexposed.

Sambhavna’s research workers have identified over 2,500 children with possible birth defects in the study population. Out of these over 1700 were diagnosed with congenital anomaly by 30 doctors from different parts of the country.

According to Mr.Ritesh Pal, Field Coordinator for the study, while the analysis of the data is ongoing, preliminary findings suggest that, compared to an unexposed population, the incidence of congenital anomalies was much higher in the populations expose to toxic gas and contaminated groundwater.

Over 31 thousand survivors of the disaster and residents from the neighbourhood of the factory exposed to contaminated groundwater are registered for treatment at the Sambhavna Trust Clinic. The clinic’s unique feature is the integration of three different systems of treatment; modern medicine, Ayurveda and Yoga.

The clinic is largely funded by donations, made to the Bhopal Medical Appeal, from 15,000 concerned individuals in the UK and India. International bestselling writer Dominique Lapierre regularly contributes to the gynaecology clinic and the informal school run by Sambhavna.

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"As an example of a holistic, environmentally-sound, community-focused and patient-centred approach to healthcare, the Sambhavna Clinic is way ahead of anything I have ever visited or worked in, anywhere in the world."

Dr John Hurst, Senior Lecturer, Honorary Consultant, UCL Medical School / Royal Free Hampstead NHS, London