"We have incurred a cost of Rs 1.5 crore per-bed. Currently we have 35 operational beds, and once we attain full capacity, this will be our costliest hospital," said Dr Mahendra Narwaria, one of the three bariatric surgeons that operates a chain of bariatric hospitals under the banner of Asian Bariatrics.
This per-bed cost is about three times more than the average cost-per-bed for new hospitals in the country, that currently stands between Rs 45-50 lakh.
At present Asian Bariatrics has a 10-bed hospital in Rajkot, while a similar-sized bed is getting ready in Hyderabad. This new hospital at Hyderabad, scheduled to open in the next 2-3 months, will be costing Rs 2 crore per-bed.
To start with, the new hospital in Ahmedabad is targeting to tap the "affluent 5 percent" of the 45 lakh obese population currently living in the city. "The average cost of surgery will be between Rs 2.5-5.5 lakh," said Narwaria who is also one of the directors of the hospital.
"Of the 3 crore obese population of India, over 16 percent live in Gujarat. People of the state are among the most obese sections of the society in the country because of their fondness for food rich in oil and sugar. They also love their daily dose of snacks and also fail to exercise," said Dr Sanjay Patolia, one of the surgeons heading the new hospital. According to the hospital's research the number of obese people are the highest in Punjab, Gujarat and South India.
During the last couple of months the hospital has conducted a soft-run where it conducted 125 bariatric surgeries at the new hospital; the heaviest patient weighed about 206 kilograms. "Our operation theatres are equipped to handle patients who weigh as much as 550 kilograms," Patolia said while explaining about a range of equipment that have been imported from countries such as Germany.