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For Delhi, health is commonwealth

delhi Updated: Mar 23, 2010 23:30 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times
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25 lakh estimated spectators in packed stadiums in the October heat. 6, 500 athletes sprinting over kilometres and slugging it out with hockeys, rackets and heavy weights.

Commonwealth Games 2010 needs to keep its participants healthy, and Delhi is making sure both the fit and the fans will stay fine.

The Union Health Ministry and Delhi government have fast-tracked clearances for expansions and upgradation projects in several Delhi hospitals, in time for the Commonwealth Games.

“Thanks to the Games, several pending proposals have been approved comparatively faster,” said Dr T. S. Sidhu, medical superintendent (MS), Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital.

The Delhi government has designated three hospitals — AIIMS Trauma Centre, RML and G. B. Pant — for potentially 57,000 people needing medical attention. A team of 400 doctors, 1,600 nurses, paramedics, support staff and volunteers, and 140 physiotherapists and massage therapists is being readied.

Based on the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) guidelines, the health department's Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010: Health Action Plan, a copy of which is with HT, states all medical services will be provided free to athletes, games officials, family, workforce, mediapersons and spectators during the duration of the Games. The medical coverage shall cover all 19 competition, five non-competition and 18 training venues.

“We have sanctioned Rs 50 crore for the Games and are meeting all our targets. In some departments, we are even ahead of the deadline. By June end, things should be in place,” said Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia, who has directed selected hospitals to be ready to deal with any eventual mass casualty, both natural or man-made, such as chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.

“We aren't taking any risks. We have asked hospitals to be prepared to handle any eventuality, and they are building up the required infrastructure for the purpose,” said Walia.

Healthcare professionals will be sourced from hospital and agencies run by the Centre, Delhi government, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, armed and paramilitary forces, and the Sports Authority of India. The masseurs will be sent from Kerala.

Volunteers will be selected from Delhi's five government-run medical colleges and St John Ambulance Brigade, the first aid and ambulance wing of the Indian Red Cross. Deployment of medical personnel will be based on nature of the sporting event. Cycling, diving, field hockey and rugby are among the high-risk sports, basketball, volleyball and badminton moderate risk, while archery, bowling, shooting, swimming, tennis low-risk.

There will be a medical centre outside the field and within the venue premises, and a post stationed on the field of play. In case of an emergency, the person will be transported through an ambulance stationed outside the venue to the nearest designated hospital.