Gas Survivors to Receive Free Cancer Treatment

Despite a decades old Indian Supreme Court ruling that free healthcare provision must be made for survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster at Government hospitals, survivors with cancer diagnoses have been struggling to find treatment for years.

The chief Government hospital designated for treatment of gas survivors, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC), had been struggling due to lack of staff, equipment and resources, and finally closed its oncology department entirely back in 2017.

On September 16, 2021, the Madhya Pradesh High Court ordered the State Government to provide free cancer treatment to gas survivors with cancer at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhopal. The order was a result of petitions submitted by Bhopal survivor groups to the Supreme Court requesting improved medical facilities for gas survivors, as well as proper compensation for those suffering long-term injuries.

After a nearly two-and-half-year wait, on January 23rd, 2024, the Gas Relief Department of the Madhya Pradesh State Government finally signed an agreement with All India Institute of Medical Sciences to provide free cancer treatment to survivors.

Survivor groups welcomed the news that their petitions are finally yielding results after years of legal proceedings. One source explained that cancer cases among the gas exposed population are ten times higher than in the unaffected population, and that at least 800 people could benefit from immediate cancer treatments once AIIMS opens its doors.

Girl with candle Bhopal

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