The Times of India today, the Centre will include the procedure, long considered a lifestyle choice, in the central government health scheme (CGHS) list, thereby allowing obese bureaucrats go for the free surgery in select hospitals.
The government has fixed a rate of Rs 2.25 lakh per person for such a surgery, according to the same report. In medical language, the weight loss surgery is called bariatric surgery. The surgery includes a variety of procedures performed on people who are obese. “Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach (sleeve gastrectomy or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch) or by resecting and re-routing the small intestines to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery),” according to Wikipedia.
In India, an estimated 20 crore people suffer from weight-related issues, but only 2,000 persons undergo weight loss surgery every year, mainly because of the high cost and lack of awareness.
According to the health ministry guideline, there will be reimbursement of surgery charges to patients who have body mass index (BMIs) of more than or equal to 40 kg per m2. The US National Institutes of Health recommends bariatric surgery for obese people with a BMI of at least 40, and for people with BMI 35 and serious coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes. Even the guideline has factored in that. If the person has obesity related co-morbidities, for example hypertension, cardio-vascular disease and diabetes, then surgery can be considered even if the BMI is more than or equal to 35 kg/m2.