In a development that could bring patients from US and Europe to the country, a private hospital today launched a world class bariatric surgery clinic here to treat people suffering from severe obesity , a disease that is fast attaining epidemic proportions in India.
The star-studded launch of the clinic at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals here saw at least 25 people queueing up for surgery to get rid of excessive body weight and in turn associated diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiac ailments.
The new facility, first of its kind in eastern India after sporadic attempts elsewhere in the country, is also eyeing patients from the west, where the cost of treatment is 15 per cent more and the waiting time enormous.
"The facility, being backed by a support group for obese people, is a comprehensive unit, which will benefit not only domestic patients but also thousands of patients in the Americas and Europe, who are showing interest in flying down to get operated," says advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon Dr B Ramana, who heads the clinic.
Quoting the WHO, he says 17 per cent of men and 15 per cent women in India were confirmed to be obese and the numbers were growing by leaps with changing lifestyles and eating habits.
"Globally, over 1.7 billion people are affected by the disease. In the US, over 300,000 people die of obesity while in Europe around 250,000 people are killed by the scourge," he says.
Though a systematic survery of obesity mortality has not been conducted in the country, Ramana says the numbers could be high in the next five years.