ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fighting Occupational Diseases

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Rather than congratulating you, I would like to thank you for the editorial “The Breath of Death” (EPW, 29 July 2017). For a long time, occupational health and safety have been ignored by the media in general.

As an industrial worker of a chemical factory, I, along with few other like-minded friends, established Vyavsayik Swasthya Suraksha Mandal in Baroda in 1986 to generate awareness on the subject. Soon we realised that large numbers of workers in the agate industry in Khambhat town in Anand district of Gujarat die of silicosis. The government neither has any data nor any system to diagnose the disease locally. Anand is one of the most prosperous districts in Gujarat withtobacco cultivation, a dairy industry, and non-resident Indian Patels. In stark contrast, you find high malnutrition, high maternity/infant mortality rates and silicosis in the same district. We started working with the agate workers and, thanks to Sri Krishna Hospital, we could provide concrete evidence of silicosis to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Now the state government has some system for diagnosis and data collection.

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Updated On : 4th Aug, 2017

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