Madhya Pradesh: Bhopal hospitals under-reporting COVID-19 deaths, claims a Gas tragedy group

Organisations working with the survivors of the 1984 gas leak disaster on Friday said Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) officials were not giving proper data on COVID-19 deaths to district and state government authorities.

Deaths of seven gas victims who died in the BMHRC's isolation wards, two in August and five in September, due to COVID-19 have not been disclosed to relevant authorities, and nor have these numbers been added in the Madhya Pradesh health department's bulletin, alleged Bhopal Group for Information and Action's Rachna Dhingra.

In a statement, she said organisations have written to additional chief secretary (health), director (gas relief) and Bhopal collector for a probe and action against guilty officials.

She said they had also written to ICMR on September 20 stating at least eight COVID-19 deaths in BMHRC's isolation wards were due to lack of proper care.

She said a probe must be launched by the district and state administration into the COVID-19 deaths that have taken place in BMHRC since March.

However, Bhopal's Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Prabhakar Tiwari said information about all deaths are given to relevant authorities in time, adding that a probe would take place if the health departments orders them to conduct one.

Dhingra said 60 per cent of COVID-19 deaths of Bhopal district are of those who have been exposed to toxic gases of Union Carbide, whereas gas victims constitute only 20 per cent of the city's population.

"It is indeed ironical a hospital established with the sole objective of providing medical care to Bhopal gas victims is not only not giving prompt and proper care but is doing everything to under-report their deaths and undermine their injuries" she alleged.

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