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Games delegates snap up health freebies

delhi Updated: Oct 09, 2010 02:10 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A Nigerian Commonwealth Games delegate who had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for years got her knee replaced within a week of landing in Delhi. The surgery costs anything between R2.5 lakh and R3 lakh in a private hospital. The cost for the Nigerian delegate: zero. The taxpayer paid the bill.

The surgery was performed on the Nigerian — reported to be the contingent’s doctor — at the Capital’s G B Pant Hospital, one of the medical centres designated for procedures that can’t be handled by the polyclinic at the Games Village.

The Nigerian delegate isn’t the only who’s turning this visit to India into a health trip. More than 1,400 have visited the Village polyclinic in the last 10 days, figures made available to Hindustan Times reveal.

Of these, 224 came for dental check-ups and 140 for eye-related tests. Among women, more than 100 came in for preventive ultrasounds. As many as 300 visited the polyclinic for cardiac check-ups. Some got comprehensive heart tests done, with eight officials going in for ECGs, EEGs and angiography.

“The medical staff realises problems that require root canal or tooth extraction don’t develop overnight. These have obviously been deferred,” said Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia. “But as medical care providers, we have to treat everyone.”

Countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Samoa, Cook Island and Northern Ireland have used the polyclinic’s facilities the most.