At a press conference on the occasion of the “International Day of Yoga”, members of the Sambhavna Trust Clinic in Bhopal, India, called upon the State and Central governments to include Yoga therapy in the treatment of the victims of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster. They said that there was sufficient medical evidence and abundant expert advice for inclusion of Yoga therapy in the hospitals, dispensaries and community units run by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh and the Department of Health Research, Government of India. In the last 21 years over 33 thousand victims of Union Carbide’s poisonous chemicals have received free medical care through modern medicine, Ayurveda and Yoga therapy at the Sambhavna Trust Clinic.
Sambhavna’s Yoga therapist, Dr Shweta Chaturvedi stated that in the last twelve years 3165 patients have been successfully treated through Yoga therapy at the clinic. According to Dr Chaturvedi, backache, breathlessness, joint pains, sleeplessness, obesity and menstrual problems are some of the major complaints in which Yoga therapy has provided remarkable results. She expressed dismay at the government health officials ignoring the remarkable potential of Yoga therapy in the treatment of Bhopal gas victims.
Dr Mrithyunjay Mali, Ayurveda Physician at Sambhavna said “Yoga therapy is of particular significance for the victims Bhopal gas disaster. Symptomatic treatment has remained the main stay of medical care of the gas victims at the government hospitals and patients continue to be given large amounts of synthetic pain killers, steroids and psychotropic drugs for long durations. The damage caused by prolonged use of these harmful medicines is evident in the large number of gas victims with chronic kidney disease. Through inclusion of Yoga therapy, it would be possible to significantly cut down prescription of potentially harmful medicines”
Community Research Worker, Hariom Vishwakarma pointed out that both the manuals prepared by experts on the treatment of Bhopal gas victims strongly recommend inclusion of Yoga therapy. He said that the manual for treatment of mental illnesses of gas victims, has advised Yoga for treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, mental tension and other problems and the manual for management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease recommends Yoga to be an integral part of pulmonary rehabilitation.
Ratnaprabha Soni, herbal gardener at Sambhavna said the state government’s negligent attitude towards Yoga therapy is evident in the fact that seven Yoga centres built for gas victims at the cost of over Rs. 4 Crores are lying unutilized for last three and half years.
The members stated that the Sambhavna Trust has recently written to the Monitoring Committee for medical rehabilitation of Bhopal Gas victims set up by the Supreme Court of India, to ensure inclusion of Yoga therapy in the medical treatment of Bhopal gas victims.
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