An interview with Sambhavna’s Dr Roopa Baddi

By Aditi & Andrew, US High School students working on a Bhopal project, a national website competition

Dr Roopa: Thankyou for the questions. My name is Dr Roopa Baddi and I am an Ayurvedic Doctor. I graduated from Karnataka and got my training in Panchkarma in Kerala. I have been working at the Sambhavna Trust Clinic for the last 3½ years as an Ayurvedic Physician, treating gas-affected as well as contaminated water-affected individuals through the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Regarding your questions, I would like to share my knowledge and thoughts with you.

At the time of gas leak I was just three years old and discovered about it later through school textbooks, television, newspapers and my teachers, and got to know that it was a massive chemical disaster with loss of life and property.

Most of the victims with a history of acute exposure to the gas in 1984 are suffering from disorders related to the respiratory, neuromuscular, ocular, endocrinal and immunological systems. Victims with history of chronic exposure to contaminated water mostly complain of skin disorders, digestive complaints such as loss of appetite, constipation, flatulence and others: headache, weakness, anxiety and insomnia.

The disaster has had a seriously negative impact upon the affected communities physically, mentally and socially. Loss of life and property following the disaster in 1984 not only affected the existing system and generation but also laid the foundation for a dark future. The recklessly dumped chemicals in the factory years ago that spread through underground water and contaminated soil became the second disaster. Even today thousands of people living around the factory are being exposed to these harmful chemicals and are suffering from various illnesses. Also, post-traumatic stress disorder is found in a wide range of the affected population.

Sambhavna, an independent, non-governmental, community-based organisation established in 1996, is  providing free medical care to the survivors through allopathy, ayurveda and yoga systems of medicine. So far, we have registered more than 25,000 victims. We treat people following the treatment protocols established by all the doctors in Sambhavna that includes proper administration of allopathic, ayurvedic and yoga treatment principles. Antibiotic and analgesic protocols are also followed to reduce the load of potentially harmful drugs and provide effective and safe treatment by using alternative treatment methods like ayurveda and yoga. Most of the patients suffering from chronic disorders and/or multiple disorders are successfully managed with integrative therapy. Nearly 35 percent of those registered at Sambhavna have taken Ayurvedic treatment alone for their complaints. In order to assure the quality of treatment, we have our own medicine-making unit to manufacture classical ayurvedic formulations; we also we have our own medicinal herbal garden where we grow raw materials for our pharmacy which dispenses fresh herbs for the patients. We don’t use any mineral preparations or company-manufactured medicines; we use only biological fertilisers in the garden. We also train and promote people to grow and use medicinal plants in their houses and communities to treat minor health problems and reduce addition to the toxic load by consuming potentially harmful drugs.

Pleasure to be in touch with you Aditi, please do not hesitate to ask if you want to know more about us! Dr Roopa.

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We believe Dow & DuPont must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.