This is largesse, literally. In a fitness fit, Madhya Pradesh government has decided to reimburse the cost of obesity surgery for the government employees, their dependents and even needy private individuals. It is first Indian state to do so.
The BJP government seems to be taking the cue from party president Nitin Gadkari, who had undergone this surgery in September last year in Mumbai. To some, the irony of the state which has rampant malnutrition — according to the India State Hunger Index made by the International Food Policy Research Institute in 2008, MP falls in the 'extremely alarming' level of hunger category — reimbursing the obese for their treatment is not lost.
The state has recognised Bhandari group of hospitals for such surgeries. The state would reimburse the cost of the surgery performed there. The order in this regard has been passed by the state with effect from January 10, 2012, for a year and is subject to renewal.
The state had formed a committee to look into the need of the surgery in the state and the decision has been taken after the committee of experts gave its nod. By the end of the year, the hospital will have to submit the video recordings of the entire procedure to this committee.
So far, none of the insurance companies have come forward to include bariatric surgery under the medical cover which makes this move by the government even more significant.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research MP was ranked at 21 for obesity and diabetes in 2009 and is now ranked at 8 in 2011. This surgery is recommended for severely obese who have one or more weight related problems.
What is bariatric surgery?
Sleeve gastrectomy (Rs 1.10 lakh) – a restrictive procedure- stomach is stapled and the size of the pouch is reduced. A 2-2.5 litre capacity stomach can be reduced to as much as 20 ml hence reducing the total food intake.
Gastric Bypass (Rs 1.80 lakh) - a malabsorptive procedure- bypassing of the intestine segments so that the food remains in the intestine for lesser time and leads to lesser absorption.
Gastric Banding (Rs 1.50 lakh) - a band is placed around the stomach to reduce its size.
The duodenal switch (DS) procedure (Rs 1.80 lakh) - involves a combination of a restrictive and a malabsorptive aspect.
State health minister Narottam Mishra said, "We want all our employees and the state to be fit and in good health. Obesity leads to a lot of other complications too and hence we thought of bearing the cost of this surgery to nip in the problem in the bud."
Director of Bhandari group of hospitals Dr Mohit Bhandari told HT that nearly 300 bariatric and metabolic surgeries for obesity and diabetes have been performed at the hospital in the last year.
"Obesity is the root cause of many ailments like diabetes, cardiac troubles, stroke, infertility, joint problems amongst others. If the problem of obesity is addressed all these diseases are taken care of," said Dr Bhandari who has recently been awarded by Indian Association of Gastrointestinal Endosurgeons President Dr Suresh Deshpande for his distinguished contribution in the field of Advanced Laproscopy.
"The patients can even give us post-dated cheques which we would keep till the patient gets the money in their account," said Dr Bhandari.