First obesity clinic in govt hospital

Economically weaker sections suffer from excess weight gain as well, find docs at LN Hospital, MAMC

Taking the “obesity epidemic” head-on, the Capital’s largest state-run hospital — Lok Nayak Hospital — has launched a programme catering exclusively to obese patients.

The move comes after an internal survey by the hospital’s surgery department, which revealed that nearly 23 per cent of their patients were suffering from obesity and its related health problems. What makes the initiative special is that this is the first time a government hospital has acknowledged the prevalence of obesity among the lower income strata.

Launching the ‘Metabolic Surgery Programme’, Dr Amit Banerjee, the hospital’s Medical Superintendent, said: “Our Surgery Department found evidence that over 20 per cent of our patients were suffering from obesity and co-morbidities.

The hospital has put together a team of doctors who will counsel and encourage patients to undergo weight reduction surgery if it helps their condition.”

The obesity unit was started after doctors at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), conducted two surveys among the adult population from economically weaker sections in Delhi. According to the studies, conducted between 2008 and 2009, the prevalence of obesity in lower economic strata is 23 per cent.

Another institution-based study, in which 100 patients coming to the medical Out Patients’ Department (OPD) of Lok Nayak Hospital were monitored, revealed that nearly 36 per cent patients suffered from Grade III obesity.

This will also be the first time a government hospital will be running a dedicated OPD for obese patients. The hospital has already enrolled 15 patients for weight reduction surgery.

“Initially we will run the OPD twice a week and as the programme expands, the number of days will be increased,” said Programme Convenor Professor Pawanindra Lal. “The objective is to help patients from economically weaker sections who do not have options for treatment.”

Besides operating on morbidly obese patients, the new unit with provide holistic care for post- and pre-operative management. “We have specialists who will look at hypertension, diabetes, cardiac disease, respiratory disorders, psychiatrists and physiotherapists who will help the patient make lifestyle changes,” said Lal.

Vidya Krishnan
The Indian Express Limited

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