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New Delhis Apollo Hospital Treats More Than 80 Iraqis

Over 80 Iraqi patients, mostly children and youth, have been cured at New Delhis Indraprastha Apollo Hospital since last month.

Most of the patients, aged up to 18 years, were suffering from congenital heart disease and hearing impairment.

A six-year old child underwent an Intra Cardiac Echo (ICE) surgery at the hospital, and was just among a handful in the country qualified to undergo the complicated surgery to clear a blockage in his heart.

"We are getting Iraqi children for heart disease, for deafness, for which we are doing cochlear implants, paediatric surgeries, orthopaedics and spine. We treat them and then they go back. We form linkages with doctors in Iraq so that they have continuative care," said Anupam Sibal, the spokesperson of the hospital.

The treatment of Iraqi patients at the hospital began on June 1 after an agreement was reached with the government in that war ravaged country.

"When we were approached by the Iraqi Government, this was not something new for the Apollo Hospital. There were some specialized needs for these patients, and we needed to gear ourselves up in order to be able to do that," The Hindu quoted Richard L. Larison, the Managing Director of the Indraprastha Apollo Group, as saying.

Larison said that at least ten percent of the patients admitted in the group's hospitals were from abroad.

Over the years, India has grown as a medical tourism destination, with treatment costs starting at around a tenth of comparable prices in the West. The value of medical tourism to India is estimated to reach two billion dollars annually by 2012.

A few Indian hospitals offered free treatment to Pakistani children in the wake of the trust steps between the two countries initiated by their leadership since 2003.


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